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The Coming Age of Small Business – Part 1

small-businessIt’s one of the most famous opening lines of any novel. Charles Dickens, in A Tale of Two Cities, wrote, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Could the same be true for small business owners today?

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Many small businesses are struggling. According to Discover’s Small Business Watch, half of the small business owners surveyed reported cash flow problems over the last three months. The good news is the number is down slightly, but it’s still significant.

It’s been tough to get credit. Vendors are more demanding than ever while, at the same time, customers are paying slowly – especially if you do business with certain state governments.

But it’s also a great time to be a small business owner.

In a post awhile back on the Harvard Business blog, Peter Bergman said small companies will win. He talked about a small business that had won large accounts – and got prepaid – even though they were competing against much bigger, more established companies. He says clients aren’t looking for …

big names …
flashy offices …
lots of time in the industry …
highly-capitalized vendors. 

So what do they want?

Bergman says: “Small is the new big. Sustainable is the new growth. Trust is the new competitive advantage.”

He reports that even senior level managers at many large companies have lost faith in their companies. As go the employees, so goes the company.

People want to do business with people they trust.
Not companies.
Not organizations.
Not institutions.

People.
People want to do business with people.
People want to trust again.
People want to do business with people they trust.

Increasingly, that’s small businesses. Trust is one of the reasons small companies have an inherent competitive advantage right now.

So to capitalize on this trend, super-serve your customers in your chosen niche. Build relationships by building trust and you’ll create a competitive advantage.

It’s hard for large companies to create a culture of trust. It’s much easier for small business owners.

If you think about it, we’re back where we started. In days gone by, we did business with people we knew.

It wasn’t about the promises of a faceless brand; it was about the promises of a person. Deliver on your promises and you’ll be a bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. We trust you enjoyed it!

Please join us next time when we’ll look at this topic again by exploring two other ways small businesses can gain a competitive advantage. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Think about a brand you regularly use. Why do you use it?

Chances are it boils down to this – you’ve come to trust that brand because you know what to expect.

Here’s a little understood point:

It’s better to be consistently average (that means mediocre), than to have occasional spurts of greatness followed by spells of disappointing performance.

Consistency is critical because people like to know what to expect. That’s the reason brands have thrived.

Some of you may remember traveling in the days before chain restaurants and hotels. You never knew what you were going to get. Sometimes it would be great; at other times, it was a disaster.

So the chains grew because people knew what they could expect, no matter where they were. Travelers didn’t want to roll the dice so they settled for the consistency that the chains provided.

So how does all this apply to you and your personal brand?

It comes down to two things – performance and personality.

Performance
Performance means delivering on promises. Quality, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness all play into the value you create. Day-to-day, people form perceptions of what you can do. You have to consistently meet those expectations in order to continue building trust in your brand.

Personality
How pleasant you are to deal with? How do you handle tough situations? How do you treat people? All these, and more, form expectations of how easy is it to work with you.

One of the biggest destroyers of your personal brand is moodiness. When we’re moody, people don’t know what to expect. They start to avoid us. It’s hard to work with moody people.

You may not be able to prevent moodiness, but you can keep it check. You don’t need to share it with the world!

More on personal branding

For What Will You Be Famous?

3 Tips To Thrive In Your Career

The Best Way to Build Your Personal Brand 

Our bigg quote today comes from George Ross, the man who used to sit at Donald Trump’s right hand on The Apprentice:

“To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they
have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do
business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.”

And mutual trust is something you can bank on!

In fact, we used to bank there, but then a bigger bank bought them out!

Next time, we’ll look to man’s best friend for some lessons about friendship. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by rev)