Okay, so I missed the January Newsletter article. But I have a good excuse. I have a boy! Lane Joseph Alexander showed up a day early, has red hair, and when you change his diaper, you unfortunately have to change his entire outfit. He is different. And since I have two little girls, he is definately a good different. Well, not the outfit part, but you get the point.
To succeed in today's small business environment, you need a niche and you need to create a following.
Consider the following:
DO: Be different. Not tinfoil hat different. Legitimately different. Customers want authenticity and a reason to like you.
DON'T: Be the same as everyone else and then boast about years of experience and certifications. You just sound like Charlie Brown's teacher at some point.
DO: Have great customer service. Be willing to follow up with your customers after their purchase and give them a reason to brag about you.
DON'T: Have arbitrary policies that do not make sense for the customer, i.e. Frigidaire took over a week to make a minor repair to our brand new fridge. That's their policy. They told me that 15 times.
DO: Charge a premium for your product or service, if it warrants it. People will pay for perceived value, even in a recession.
DON'T: Try to compete on price. You may not have the same overhead as a big box store, but you don't have the buying power either. Also, the perception of low price is low value (says the guy with the free service.)
DO: Build an offense around your mobile quarterback, i.e. Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and RGIII.
DON'T: Pretend you can turn him into Warren Moon in the old run-n-shoot offense in his first full year starting. That's a Jake Locker reference for non-Titans fans.
Local niche examples:
- Hoppity Hop Inflatable Play Center has the only indoor inflatable play center in Sumner County.
- Butterbean Bistro offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes from local ingredients.
- Future Vision Energy allows businesses to save money by installing retro-fit LED lighting with no out-of-pocket costs.
The TSBDC offers free and confidential one-on-one counseling for existing and start up small businesses. To register for counseling go to www.tsbdc.org.
Other contact information - Phone (615) 230-4780 www.volstate.edu/tsbdc
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center Network is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local community donors.