You’ve either started or are getting ready to start a small business, and it’s a tough world out there. There are also many opportunities, and there are plenty of resources to help you get established and become successful. From online marketing to carving out your niche and focusing on customer retention, it’s time to get down to business.
When you are competing against other businesses, you’re told to look at what the competition is doing. While that is a good idea, it doesn’t mean to copy them. The best thing you can do as a small business is to find out how you can set yourself apart from the competition, in a good way of course. In some instances, this will mean noticing what the competition is doing and doing something similar, yet tweaking it and going above and beyond. Other times, it will mean a completely original marketing plan that you creatively design that keeps you ahead of your competitors.
This ties into everything you do with branding and marketing your business. Think about what you can do with your social media sites. Catch the other businesses in your area slacking, and offer special discounts, free giveaways or anything you can do to draw in customers consistently. The goal should be to market your business online more than the competition.
You see, if you can brand your business online to where it looks ‘virtually’ more important than others, you have won half the battle. In years past, small businesses would have to do this in person only, so it looks like there is more work to do. However, branding your business online is much easier, so if you’re able to handle doing this better than the competition, you’ve got it made.
If you haven’t noticed, many small businesses are lacking when it comes to online marketing. Sure, some are stepping up to the plate, but many are not putting on the big britches so to speak. If you still don’t get my drift, let me put it this way: The online world allows small businesses to act like big corporations. If you play your cards right, you can really hit it big with all the marketing tools available.
While you’re going to be switching things up from time to time and constantly reinventing your business in ways, you have to also understand that small business is all about consistency. Your customers are going to expect this consistency. This ‘consistency’ also extends to how you present your business both offline and online. Branding is all about consistency, and it is also how you make customers feel comfortable.
One way you can outsmart the competition, is not just by building your customer base, but by keeping them loyal. What can you give to your customers to prevent them from trying out the competition? These are just a few pointers to consider when running a small business, and there are so many other ideas that you need to implement in order to keep moving your business forward.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is no easy feat. Sacrifice, hard work and an unwavering determination for achieving greatness are required. So is surviving your mistakes — because they will happen.
At CreativeLive, I’ve always strived to learn from my own mistakes and to gain powerful insights from those who have successfully gone down the path before me. That’s why I reached out to six top entrepreneurs, writers and CEOs I’ve admired for years.
I asked each of them to share with me, in a selfie-style video clip, their single most impactful piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Those interviewees included:
- Chase Jarvis, the prolific photographer and CEO at CreativeLive, who’s on a mission to revolutionize the way the world learns
- Jon Acuff, the best-selling author of five books designed to teach how to find and create meaningful work
- Sophia Amoruso, the founder of NastyGal and the best-selling author of #GIRLBOSS, who launched one of the fastest-growing retail brands in recent history
- Lewis Howes, the best-selling author, lifestyle entrepreneur and podcast host, who’s interviewed more than 200 influential entrepreneurs on how to achieve greatness
- Nir Eyal, the best-selling author, entrepreneur and speaker, who’s pioneering the psychology behind creating habit-forming products
- Guy Kawasaki, the entrepreneur, investor and former chief evangelist at Apple, who’s helped dozens of well-known startups launch with a bang
Here’s what each had to say:
Just about any and all business owners who have created a sustainable self-employed career will tell you that they wouldn’t have achieved their goals without guidance from others. They’re not afraid to ask for help. In fact, most of them are successful in a large part, because they’ve surrounded themselves with trusted advisors, mentors and industry experts.
Here’s more from these top entrepreneurs on how they’ve risen to success in the world of business.
1. Chase Jarvis, CEO at CreativeLive
Image credit: Chase Jarvis
“Scratch your own itch.”
After becoming one of the world’s best-known photographers at a relatively young age, Chase went on to found CreativeLive, the world’s largest live-streaming education company. He credits much of his success to following his passions and pursuing only the opportunities that he’s genuinely interested in.
Jarvis: “Go after solving a problem that you have. Something that’s near and dear to you, not some random market opportunity. Because, when things get hard, if you’re chasing just the dollars, or a random market opportunity, you’re not going to be able to have the fortitude, the passion, to stay with it.”
2. Jon Acuff, ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘Do Over’
Image credit: Jon Acuff
“Success takes hustle.”
Acuff, the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including Do Over, set out early on in his career to pursue at all costs only meaningful work. For him, that meant 16 long years of being hired and fired, before eventually finding his dream job and launching his self-employed career as a writer, speaker and brand consultant.
Accomplishing his dream of working for himself took a lot of hard work, focus and hustle.
Acuff: “Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It’s not about doing more, it’s about focusing on the things you need to do, in order to move your business forward.”
Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253916