Whether you’ve just started a new business or you’ve been running one for a few years, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re not running a corporation.
Figuring out your product/service, business model, branding, marketing, and onboarding can be overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself, with a partner, or a small team.
And while I can’t give you a secret recipe for how to make any aspect of your business run smoothly, I can give you another point of view that will hopefully help you see things from another perspective.
Is My Business Considered a Small Business?
The definition of a small business or a small enterprise varies depending on the context, geographical location, industry, and other variables.
With so many changes in the way businesses operate in today’s digital world, I won’t debate or define what is considered a micro-business, a small business, an organization, or a corporation.
But if you’re working with 1 to 99 people (including part-timers and remote workers) then the ideas within this article might be useful for you.
Your Advantage as a New Business
Many new businesses are anxious to scale, increase revenue, and begin hiring full-time employees. They take a business loan, search for investors, or put up a big chunk of their capital and go all-in.
They rent the office space, bring in the fancy furniture, hire a couple of full-timers, and spend unforgivingly on tech and equipment.
Times are tough and you need to be profitable as soon as possible, I get it.
I admire your passion and completely get where you’re coming from, but all of the above are just an image; a facade; not by any means an indication of how successful or profitable your business is going to be in the future.
And while business is all about taking risks, without proper planning all of that facade can go to waste.
Instead of spending an extravagant amount of money on leather sofas in your office’s waiting room, what if you spend that money on developing your product/service, marketing it to customers, and getting feedback on the whole experience first.
See, small businesses don’t often possess the necessary manpower or marketing budget to get their product/service to the masses in a timely manner. And without a unique product, good marketing, and a trustworthy brand, a small business can easily accumulate bad debt in no time.
My advice is, don’t copy an established brand or compare your small business to a corporation.
The advantage of running a small business is its agility.
Take the Road Less Travelled
Unlike big corporations, your business doesn’t have hundreds or thousands of existing employees and corporate hierarchies, outdated frameworks, and hefty bills to pay every month.
Use that to your advantage.
Employ the latest proven frameworks, business models, and lightweight technologies that allow you to sustain, scale, and restructure your business in the face of any adversity.
Competitors, friends, and peers might pressure you into thinking that you need a lavish office space to attract potential customers. Or that you must appear a certain way to impress clients.
They are wrong.
Ten years ago I wasn’t taken seriously by some friends and relatives for working as a freelancer and using the Internet to run most of my business operations.
Fast-forward to 2021 – almost every person I know buys or sells things online, is in support of online business, or works at a company that runs part of their operations online.
As for freelancing? Remote working and the gig economy have become an aspiration and everyone wants a piece of the pie.
So, don’t follow what people say blindly. Do your own research and find out what’s best for your business.
Ways to Create a Unique Business
The world is always evolving, and so is the way we do business. In ancient times, traders used to travel the distance with their goods and sell them in person. Nowadays, we have e-commerce and artificial intelligence to help us.
Learn both traditional and modern methods, and then create your own unique roadmap that works for your business.
As a small business, you have the advantage of implementing agile and progressive systems early on:
It’s easy to emulate a successful brand’s business model, what’s hard is when you find out that it isn’t working for your business. Because every business is different.
Nowadays, the tools and resources available for entrepreneurs are countless. Make use of this digital landscape to build your empire.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just need to spend enough time to figure out what makes sense for you and your business, even if it means going against the grain in your industry.
Pivoting and changing your business model is can be easily done in the early stages, but things get a little more complicated as your business grows.
Figure out your business model and start working on your business plan before you invite investors and hire employees – or at least as soon as you can.
With so much competition in the digital space, having a strong brand has become more important now than ever.
But you might want to rethink your branding efforts if they’re solely focused on design and visuals.
If you truly want to grow your business, you should spend some time determining your brand’s values and strategy.
The Internet and social media revolutionized the way that society works, in a sense that now the consumer holds the upper hand.
Many corporations are struggling with this reality, especially when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Because at one point, corporate social responsibility was merely a gimmick to many corporations. It wasn’t something that they truly practiced within and without. But social media lent a voice to whistleblowers exposing the realities in some companies; pushing these corporations to change their old ways instantly.
Staff and customers may be forgiving at the early stages, but as your business picks up momentum, they will begin to question your values and your intentions if they’re not aligned with your vision.
Unlike corporations, small businesses, can easily adapt and enforce brand values and promote them across every aspect of the business.
There are many innovative ways for you to integrate new employees and customers into your brand’s ecosystem. Of course, it all depends on your business, industry, products/services, and moral code.
For example, at Bent Road Films, we see creatives and clients as collaborators. We work together with all parties to create a pleasant experience and working environment for everyone.
With this approach, the production team is motivated to bring better results, the client trusts us and receives a quality product that they’re happy with, and we have peace of mind to focus on delivering quality work.
Corporations rely on data and tested marketing methods and campaigns. And why shouldn’t they, there’s a lot at stake. They need to bring in the sales to pay their bills while remaining profitable.
Small businesses, on the other hand, have a lot of freedom to experiment and explore. For starters, the market they’re approaching is likely to be much smaller than that of a corporation. And the budgets