Have Small Businesses Returned to Prominence?
They never really left, but they did take a notable leave of absence from the forefront of consumer intake. But now, in 2015 they seem to be back making some noise and gaining steam moving forward. Although still very difficult to compete with the Mega Stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, Lowes, Etc., small business are taking back some buying power and are once again able to offer consumers competitive pricing, competitive enough to go toe to toe with these industry giants!
So what happened to these Small Businesses? Where did they go? The answer has been in front of us for many years now and has been discussed to death. We’re here to talk about the other side of this, the upswing. With the growth of mega stores, places like Walmart were able to offer basically everything under one roof and at a lower price. Consumers loved the idea of going to one place and potentially saving a few bucks. But what was sacrificed in the process? The main loss suffered by the public was the personable service you receive from the small business experience; it is non-existent in the super stores. Small businesses (most of them), care more about just the sale and actually want to help you as best they can. So how is it with all these mega stores still thriving that the small business is slowly making its return? In not so many words; the internet happened.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different tools available to small businesses for a cost of next to nothing, it has become easier than ever for a small business to not only advertise but to connect with their clientele and potential customers. For a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising (Television, Radio, Billboards and other print) a business can now set up a functional and snazzy website, place ads on other sites and social platforms and ultimately create an online presence that they could never establish offline. An entrepreneur can not only create a buzz and educate the public on their products and services, but they can now connect with them in ways they were never able to do. With social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and an effective Blog, business owners now have a voice and it is louder than ever. Being able to connect and talk to customers should never be overlooked. The personal experience that customers get when dealing with a smaller business just cannot be matched by the industry giants, and that gives the little guy an edge. With infinite options and convenience, coupled with consumers who are more educated than ever before – people have questions and people want answers. Being able to address these needs has drawn more and more people away from the Superstores and back to the locals.
When you consider the fact that a huge percentage of business in 2015 was originated to some degree from an online platform, think about the power that this personal connection gives the “little guy”. Almost every customer will google a company or check out their social feeds before contacting them. If they have a question or want actual reviews it is as easy as clicking like on their Facebook page.
Granted the big guys have people dedicated to handling Twitter and Facebook, which further confirms the importance of this power. If these big corporations have placed enough stock on the importance of connecting with the consumer base that they dedicate an employee, a salary and in some cases even whole teams to deal with this; this is proof that they are feeling the heat from underneath. As a small business, if you want to keep up pace and survive through the coming years; then you better recognize the vital importance of these tools and learn how to use them effectively. Fast. As consumers continue to shop this way and small business continue to grow, taking advantage of these platforms; then maybe, just maybe we can start to take back some of the market share and put some money back into each others pocket, into community businesses and force the giants to come back down to reality. Take back your community and take back your industry. We would love to hear your thoughts and input on this topic, please join the discussion below.
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