The Small Business Advantage – Part II

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Welcome back to our series dedicated to highlighting the benefits and contributions that small & mid-sized businesses have on our communities.

The first article in this series was geared more toward B2B networking in the community.  Now we look to B2C relationships and the impacts on both the businesses and their customers.

The Odds are in your Favor

Taking a closer look at the failure rate of small businesses reveals that the market outlook is not nearly as dreadful as some people suggest. The data shows that mature small businesses have a significantly better chance of survival.  Local businesses succeed by establishing themselves as part of their community—this is why community relationship networking is vital!

In a recent study commissioned by American Express called the “Small Business Economic Impact Study” it was found the following:

  • “…A majority of consumers (94%) value the contributions small businesses make in their community”
  • “…as consumer shopping habit shift further online, nearly 2/3 (65%) are likely to seek out small, independently-owned retailers when shopping online”

Why It Matters

What sets local businesses apart from their larger competitors is that they are part of the fabric of their communities—they reflect the unique culture of their local environment—and this creates brand value and recognition for consumers.

Cultivating this customer-centric network connection is every bit as important as your efforts with other business owners.  Why?  Well, loyal customers are profitable customers!

Network Building Ideas

How you build that network will depend on your industry and your specific business strategy.  Even if your approach is evolving you can still work on your customer relationship building by beginning, or augmenting, your regular communications with your customer base.

Here are a few suggestions on cultivating your customer base:

  • Compile a list of your most valued customers and their transactions so you can speak to them about their purchase history and upcoming items or events they might find of interest
  • Develop or customize your mailing lists so that customers get more targeted messages
  • Host loyalty events like a Happy Hour, Early Bird Sale or Open House on Small Business Saturday
  • Offer personalized sales and services to specific high-value customers
  • Target messaging through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and others

Talk Before Text

It is important to balance human-centric network building activities with digital communication— placing value on real life interaction compliments your online presence and develops robust relationship networks.

“…word of mouth in the flesh is still invaluable to brand recognition.” 

Read the full article for more community networking strategies— it’s a must for local business owners!

Helpful resources

Need a refresher on your strategy or maybe more insights on moving your business plans forward?  Here are a couple of useful links:

Business2Community:  Articles and tools related to local business and community relationship development.

How to Strengthen Your Personal Brand: A blog from Neil Patel, a digital marketing influencer, with an in depth look at using word-to-mouth marketing for brand building and growing your business (the source of word of mouth graphic, also).

Consumer Pulse on Small Business (2017): from Cox Business with some great stats on consumer support for local small and mid-sized businesses.

Small Business Pulse (2018): survey from Shopkeep provides general insights from business owners on the overall state of their businesses.

Simple, Balanced Solutions

A balance between bothB2B and B2C networking strategies is integral to any successful endeavor.  Developing business partnerships, consumer visibility, brand recognition, and company reputation depend on it so decide how you want to do it and then search for the tools that work best.  Too many of us start the other way around.

Implementing efficient, easy to use tools are a great way to stay engaged and establish brand value within your community.  We know a thing or two about that, so let us know if we can help

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