Although online business seems to be dominating right now, there is still a place for entrepreneurs who want to build their own careers. The last few years have seen a significant pushback against big business by consumers, who want to “shop small” and support local businesses instead of CEOs.
From farmer’s markets to popup stores, consumers are looking to spend their money ethically and support real people instead of paying Wall Street salaries. There is definitely a place for small business in 2015 – you just have to make your mark.
Why Small Business?
Owning a small or local business is a lot of work, but one of the most rewarding careers out there. You will meet your customers personally, employ people you care about, and help those employees to meet their own career goals in turn. Being involved in your community is its own reward.
Massachusetts business owner Kate Layte says in an interview with Monster, “The charm of local bookstores is that they know their neighborhoods and in turn their communities support them. If you distance yourself from the people and just start viewing customers as big data it gets awfully impersonal very fast.”
In a world that is becoming increasingly automated and impersonal, getting to know your customer can have big benefits.
Small businesses rely on the communities they exist in to support them. Running community-driven events, such as readings or open mic nights, can help you to show that you want to be involved in the community and are part of the neighborhood.
If you don’t have the space to host events, consider donating to local drives. If the school is holding a raffle, send over a gift card. This has two benefits – it will show your support, and whoever receives the gift card will come to your shop. This is an inexpensive way to “advertise” that will bring customers straight to your door.
You will have to advertise to bring people in. Events are a good way to advertise, and can bring in specific crowds that might not otherwise visit your shop. It will also be necessary to have your business listed on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Certain services online allow businesses to post their hours and locations. This can be especially important to small businesses – you need to let people know when you are open and make it as easy as possible for customers to find you.
If you have a website (and you probably should!) make sure your location and hours are listed at the top, on the first page. If customers are looking you up through a mobile app, that’s the first thing they’ll see.
Owning a small business can be stressful, but giving back to your community is a great feeling. At the end of the day, you can happily say that you are making your own career.