Every small business owner should be able to identify one or two things their company does better than competitors. This strength is your team’s “superpower.” It’s the thing that fuels your organization’s desire to compete at the highest level and provides the clarity you need to create new opportunities. While most hardware stores sell similar products, their approach to business can be completely different. Playing to your strengths can make customers feel good about shopping in your business instead of a big box store. It can also motivate them to identify with other customers in the store’s community of patrons. Perhaps the power of your business excels in several of these areas.
- Diverse Product Assortment
- Personal, hands-on Service
- Employees with product knowledge
- Building Community Connections
The Power of Small Businesses
Small businesses can range from a one-person operation to those employing up to 500 people. Although chain stores and big box retailers capture the headlines, 99.9 percent of companies are small operations. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) 33, 185,550 accounts for 62.7 percent of the jobs created since 1995. While big business has eliminated 4 million jobs, small business added 8 million.
- Pay 39.4 percent of private sector payroll
- Six million have paid employees
- Twenty-five million are non-employer firms
The economic impact of small businesses is undeniable. When companies bloom, it has a ripple effect on self-employed professionals who provide services to other independent businesses and the community.
Being a part of something bigger will resonate with your customers since people often feel disconnected in a fast-paced society driven by technology.
Diverse Product Assortment
Shoppers get excited when they discover new and exciting products. While they expect to find many items offered at big box stores, they want independents to diversify their assortments with specialty brands, locally sourced products, and things relevant to their community. Check out the competition to avoid selling what is available near your business. It pays to be different and build a niche business that fulfills a need identified by your customers.
- Premium Pet food and accessories
- Decorative hardware and specialty paint
- Houseplants and decorative pottery
- Handcrafted products by local vendors
- Workwear and specialty tools
Personal Hands-on Service
Independents excel at customer service because they usually take time to get to know their customers. People also feel comfortable asking questions and receiving advice from the staff—many of whom live in the community. Store owners are passionate about their business since it represents a significant accomplishment. Customers are willing to pay a little more if they are pleased with the service and have a pleasant shopping experience.
Employees with Product Knowledge
People often want an expert opinion about the merchandise they plan to buy. So, it’s essential to employ well-trained people who understand the features and benefits of the products they are selling. This talent helps customers purchase the right products for maintenance and repair problems or other requirements. Employees who engage customers can determine if the shopper needs additional help to make their selections. Great employees can become legendary in their towns, especially when they go beyond the call of duty to be caring and kind.
Building Community Connections
Supporting good work in the community can change lives. Studies indicate that local businesses give 250 percent more to not-for-profit organizations than large companies. Supporting your local charity can focus on children, veterans, disabled adults, pets, or anything that positively impacts the community. Independents also create jobs and revitalize the local economy by hiring people from the community. Promoting your involvement in a worthy cause enhances the image of your business and indicates your willingness to reinvest funds in the local neighborhood or town.
Being authentic and playing to your strengths will make your organization’s “superpowers” evident to consumers. Many family-owned independent businesses have been successful for more than a half-century. With planning and know-how, the organizations continuously adapt to remain focused on offering an exceptional customer experience.