It’s common to dream of owning a business one day. For most people, those dreams start with opening up a local business, and then growing out from there, gaining amazing reviews and a lot of positive notoriety at the same time.
But it’s this local stage at the beginning of your journey that’s going to prove to be the hardest. In the modern world, it’s incredibly difficult to compete against bigger brands! It’s even a struggle to compete against medium sized enterprises that are well known across the country.
Once upon a time, all we had were local businesses. You’d run down to a local grocery store, run by a friend of a friend. You’d then shop in a small boutique clothing store, run by someone you used to go to school with. This was the local economy, and it was some of the strongest stuff in the world!
But now we live digitally. We can find millions of businesses just with a quick Google search. Thanks to just how fast this transition has happened, many entrepreneurs and small business owners give up on their dreams before they’ve even started.
That’s why we’re here to tell you it’s not all bad news. Local businesses still have a chance; you’ve just got to know how to work the current market.
You’ll Grow Slower
That’s simply a fact of life when you’re a small, local business only trying for local attention. You’re going to grow at what feels like a snail’s pace. Even past the first year, from time to time it’s going to feel like you’re not going anywhere and you’re never going to.
However, this feeling doesn’t quite match the reality. Your perception of the way you’re growing compared to just how far you’ve come usually isn’t quite right. After all, you didn’t have any loyal customers when you started, but you do now!
Yet, you’re right about the slow pace at which you’re gaining attention, and as a result, new customers. It’s a struggle every local business will have to face up to.
It’s Hard to Get Online Attention
The digital world is vast. Everyone has the chance to create a space for themself, and with just the use of a website and some well tuned social media. But as a small business, is anyone going to even notice that you’ve created a platform of your own?
It’s something many smaller companies have to deal with. You don’t have the same kind of budget as a bigger brand, and that means your ads can’t go front and center like theirs. You have to depend on organic methods, such as inbound marketing, and the use of well placed keywords to put your website at the top of the search results page.
However, without a proper understanding of these methods, you could simply be shooting into the dark.
However, There’s Also Various Benefits!
It’s not all doom and gloom. Being a local business has a lot of benefits to it. You have a lot to offer and a captive audience to offer it to. That makes for a great start to your career! But if you don’t quite believe us yet, we’re going to prove it to you below.
So, in a world that often feels skewed against you, here are the main benefits to keep in mind:
You Offer a Personal Service
You’re going to be the best choice for someone who wants a level of care that’s unmatched in the big business world. When you’re small and locally based, you can offer a personal, face to face service that comes with good chat and even a few laughs. That makes for great customer service, even if someone comes to you with a complaint.
Local business relies on repeat custom. When you treat someone well, you have the chance to bring them back for more. If they’re really impressed by you, they’re going to do plenty of free word of mouth marketing as well. And all you needed to do was show up on time, in person, and be yourself!
You Can Act Faster Than A Bigger Brand
This is one of the main reasons people will turn to local brands over bigger, more nationally known brands. You’re likely to get to them sooner than they will! After all, they’ve got a bigger customer base to service, and may even be booked up for months if they run a service they’re well known for. Yes, even a large customer base has its downsides!
So, this is where you can rise to meet the demand. If you run a company that can send out a plumber within a couple of hours, or send out an electrician to double check some DIY wiring is OK, you’ve got a chance to shine like never before. You can even use hvac software and the like to keep a track on how your team is moving, and who has the time to attend that emergency callout. Now that’s a fast response service!
You Have a Better Use of Local SEO
When people look for a business or service online, they’re mostly going to tap in the operative search term with the tail ending ‘near me’. As a local business, you want to be the first person who pops up when they hit enter.
That might sound hard, but there’s some good news for you. You’re better placed than any other business in the world to be that top search result! Indeed, a good grasp of local SEO allows for long term organic traffic, and the more you write content geared towards this kind of search intent, the more customers you’re going to bring in.
Your Reviews Mean More
When leaving a review for a bigger brand, a customer’s thoughts can get lost amongst the outpour. After all, a well known, long established brand is going to have thousands and thousands of positive, negative, and mixed reviews – who is really going to pay attention to the noise here?
No one! And that’s one thing a small, local business can use to its advantage. If someone leaves you a review, it means something. It will be seen by the people that matter, and you’re much more likely to respond to it with a heartfelt sentiment that only speaks to your care and professionalism.
Even if it’s a negative review, don’t panic! You don’t need it to get lost in the stream and be drowned out by 100 other positive reviews. You can use this as a learning experience, and even show future customers just how much time and attention you pay to the people who shop with you.
You Can Capitalize on Your Local Connection
People respond to a local brand far better than a global one. After all, a local brand is nearby, is run by people they may already know, and if there’s a problem, they’re far more likely to get through! This local connection can rush your number up to the top of the list when someone wants to buy something, or they need to call on someone reliable in an emergency. And if your prices are more reasonable than a chain store nearby, you’re definitely going to win out on local traffic!
People Will Know You AND Your Business
Like we mentioned in the intro to this post, you’re likely to make some friends with your customers, or even already know them before you even started your business. That’s how they used to do it in the old days! Reviving this tradition can do wonders for your standing in the local community.
If you choose to focus on this, people are going to know both you and the company you run. That makes for some excellent marketing in the long term; when you’re friendly with the very people you look to serve, they’re going to have nothing but good things to say.
In the modern world, this kind of connection often goes understated. You’re a business owner, you’re not going to have time to shake the hands of every single person who comes through the door! But as a local owner, this is where you can beat out the bigger business like no other.
Can Your Local Business Compete?
Yes! Any local business has a chance to thrive in the current economy, even when the odds feel stacked against you. You need a touch of belief in your business ideas and plenty of confidence in your ability to do business as a leader. And if you’ve got a strong team behind you, it’s going to be easier than ever to be a success within the local area.
So get to know the methods above. They can be a huge boost to a business like yours. People still want to shop at small businesses local to them, and support their local community; you’re a part of that, and this very personal connection to your customers is never going to change.