There's such a special place in my heart for small business owners. After working with small businesses for a few years, I've grown incredibly fond of the journey of a small business owner. In fact, I've built my business around helping this very specific type of business. Where another might see challenge in working with less experienced businesses, I see opportunity.
There's something to be said about the blood, sweat, and tenacity of a small business owner. There's something admirable about watching a person blossom by taking a risk and putting it all on the line. There's something noble about someone who won't give up. No matter what. It inspires me. Now being a small business owner myself, I have even more respect for these coffee-drinking, dream chasing, ma & pa type of folks who just won't take no for an answer.
Along with that, there's a few other notable things about small businesses. From a professional perspective, we can say that small businesses and big businesses are incredibly different and our approach to them should be, too. These two are just not the same and as marketers, it's incredibly important that we stop treating them as such. Here's the differences that stand out to me:
1) The value of a dollar means much more to a small business owner.
The reason for this is because revenues are lower and the value of a buck means much, much more. They can't afford as much as a medium or large business when it comes to the extras or to advertising. For that reason, it's incredibly important to price your services right, if indeed this is your target market. Sometimes your're working with someone who is struggling to keep the lights on and a small amount may be ALL THEY HAVE. Acknowledge that. Honor that. If you're in the business of social media marketing for the money, then this may not be the best target market for you.
2) Sometimes a small business is a family affair.
Often times, small businesses are family owned and operated. This means you may need the okay of several people with differing opinions. Try to appease everyone while still providing your expertise.
3) Some small businesses have zero experience with marketing, advertising, and social media.
This doesn't mean they can't be potential clients. It just means you may have to ease them into their decisions. Don't rush them. Don't force them. They'll come when they're ready...and if they don't, well it's probably better that way.
4) Small business owners are LOYAL.
They don't have time get their hands messy and caught up in different things. Once you have their trust, it'll last forever, so long as you do good business. This means being extra transparent and operating with unquestionable integrity. Put their needs at the top of your priority list, and your credibility will skyrocket.
Working with small businesses isn't for everyone. Not because they don't deserve it, but because they probably require a little more TLC. That's okay though. The way I see it is that there's enough business for everyone and we need only decide if we'd like to run toward the challenge or hop over it get to those medium and large size businesses. As for me, small business is my market and I'm sticking to it.