25. Be unique or be forgotten — 30 Days Of Medium
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Don’t be forgotten
There are two types of small businesses.
Those that grow and those that survive.
I’m a big believer in the expression — “If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards”.
And if your small business isn’t always growing and improving incrementally, you are surviving and waiting for the business grim reaper to visit you at some point in your future.
Forgettable businesses, get forgotten
The majority of small businesses don’t generate any business online.
The reason for this is because they don’t have a distinct brand or any kind of purposeful marketing strategy, outside perhaps attending some training events and tweeting a bit.
These businesses grow through referrals and exist on their current customer base.
This is dangerous however, because at some point the referrals will dry up and that existing customer base could cease to be.
Many small businesses have to close when they lose a key customer who sustains their business.
Again this is very dangerous. Your revenue should never be tied up in just one customer or your entire business is at risk all the time and you are beholden to this one customer.
Why unique businesses thrive
This is marketing basics.
They stand out and have clearly defined unique selling points.
As I’ve said before, there is nothing new under the sun, but there are limitless combinations of service offering, marketing and branding ideas you can apply to small businesses.
The businesses that thrive have decided with purpose these things:
- Who they are
- What they do
- How they do it
They most likely specialise in 1 or 2 things and make it their business to be excellent at these things, instead of average at 5 or 6 things.
Nobody pays for average.
People want to pay for specialism.
Making your business unique
There are a lot of ways you can make your business stand out, here are just some below:
- Niche down and specialise in a specific area. For example, a specialist WordPress agency vs another local web design company.
- Create a clear, consistent brand and apply it throughout all your marketing materials. For example, decide on fonts, colours and a brand style and use it religiously in everything you do.
- Be a little different. I really like space. I think it’s super cool, so incorporated it into my brand through videos, visually stunning imagery and in my logo.
- Don’t copy everyone else. If you like the colour yellow and love trains, make a brand that’s yellow and incorporate trains. Don’t copy what’s consistent locally, you’ll just be another boring generic brand. A genuine brand is far more interesting than one that is copied without any enthusiasm.
Some other simple things you can look at:
- Using technology (anything your competitors aren’t doing to give you an edge).
- Different marketing channels (if everyone is using Twitter, try video or Instagram).
- Working harder (if everyone else writes 1 blog post a week, write 5).
- Taking a contrasting viewpoint (if your competition say x is best, you say y is better then justify it).
Ultimately you don’t need to be hugely different, just different enough to stand out and be remembered as that company who does x, who who has a great brand.