Small businesses have to get by in any way they can. Today’s market is harsh and unforgiving towards businesses that often have to compete with international giants. To ensure that you have enough time and energy to win these battles, we have prepared a checklist of seven mistakes that you could slip up on, on your way towards the top!
1. Same as competitor’s but different
Each of us must have said or heard a client or colleague say that a logo has to be the same as a competitor’s, only different; that website texts, design, colours and the company’s digital communication has to be the same or similar. Trying to be like your competitors, only different, is admitting that competitors have it better, and the best you can do is to try to be the same, only different, which of course also takes effort.
However, each company should be unique. Otherwise, why would anyone buy anything from them?
Plus, maybe the aspects you want the same as your competitors are not even working for them the way you think they are.
Maybe their products are bought for completely different reasons that you haven’t even thought about.
Be yourself and find that special something. If you’re collaborating with a supplier or colleague who is a professional in their field, inform them about your competitors and their approach, but make sure they understand that you’re looking for something better; something unique and relevant.
2. Posting the most traditional photos from image banks or, even worse, other websites
Firstly, we must warn you that by reposting a photo without including information about its copyright, you can face heavy fines. So, you can forget all about browsing Google for photos and then reposting them on your website or social media.
Secondly, we also suggest steering clear of images with the little white human figures and cliché meeting photos that you can see all over websites and communication materials. Sometimes less is more and it is better to choose quality over quantity. The same goes for product photos that you will feature in your online store.
The other extreme, with plenty of examples online, are websites without any photos whatsoever. You must know that people don’t like to read a lot; just like you, they prefer visual materials.
Photos are crucial as they have the ability to capture and hold attention, build an image and make sales.
You can’t go wrong with a qualitative professional photo shoot for your company or products, the results of which you can use both on your website and in communication. If you can’t afford it, look for photos on image banks, but go for something new, different, unprecedented and relevant to your image.
3. Lack of quality content on the company’s website
Does your business have a lot of competitors? If you screamed “Yes” then when clients come across your brand online, quality content is basically your only competitive advantage.
Quality content will improve your website’s standings on Google. It will help your potential clients to understand your company’s goods and services better, as well as communicate your story. It will tell your website visitors why they should choose you and your product. The content will dissipate any doubts that might hold back potential clients from doing business with you. Thus, if you lack such content, while your competitors don’t… You can see the problem yourself.
Step into your client’s shoes! Imagine that you don’t know anything about your company and its services. What should you know in order to make a positive decision or even keep it in mind as one of the possible solutions? Of course, you should entrust copywriting to professionals. This will save you time and money. But if you decide to tackle it yourself, read a couple of articles on creating quality content. When the texts are ready, have someone with no connection to your company or these texts read them. Then ask if they understood them. This will give you subjective insight that will help you to achieve a good result.
4. Competing with large companies
Competing with large international companies is almost impossible! They have the contacts, the people, the resources, the money, the systems, the tools, etc. How could a small company compete with all that? You can, but not in the same weight class! You have to draw the viewers’ attention to a match in another weight class by offering them what they truly want!
More often than not large companies are inflexible, impersonal, etc. You probably know how to best stand out on their background. Thus, there is no need to compete with them, but attracting and winning clients over with something they don’t have… Now we’re talking!
Find the unique nature, identity and that special something of your company that the large companies can’t compete with. In reality, small entrepreneurs sometimes have such a unique niche, charm and approach that they get the better of the great giants.
5. Hoping for a miracle on social media
There were times when social media was practically a cashier. People bought whatever was posted. A golden era! Nowadays they are so packed with information you can be happy if anyone even sees what you’re posting. And if somebody likes or shares it, you can consider yourself a social media expert! It’s an exaggeration, of course, but the truth is that social media is not a magician, cheap sales channel or something of the like. Communicating on social media is necessary, but it has to match your audience, goods and services. Of course, you can have a spot-on advertising campaign, and everything will be great. But it also takes hard work, a lot of time, high-quality photos or videos, good content, creative ideas and, last but not least, money. Everything is proportional to investments. So, don’t expect any miracles.
Develop a prudent, qualitative and strategic communication with your target audience. Do it regularly. There will be no miracles, but the invested work is bound to pay off sooner or later. Here’s hoping it will be sooner rather than later!
6. Hoping for any miracles
Make a website!
People are buying!
The company is earning money!
This is the kind of miracle that would be a mistake to hope for. It is only in fairy tales where some online offers conquer the world overnight. In real life, all companies have worked hard and failed on countless of marketing and communication campaigns that simply didn’t work. It is also clear that nothing will happen and move forwards if you don’t do anything.
To start moving forwards define clear and attainable goals, develop a realistic strategy, and just start doing it. Because goals and strategy without actual actions is the same as hoping for a miracle.
7. Doing it all yourself
Yes, sometimes doing everything by yourself is faster and cheaper. But not always! If you plan on becoming a one man show, you can count on successful wedding gigs, while those who have delegated the small tasks and the choice of background music to others so they can concentrate on playing their own musical instrument, i. e., focusing on the company’s core activity that actually brings revenue, will play at the finest concert hall in the city. Don’t waste 2 hours to save 10 bucks if you can make 100 in 2 hours.
Concentrate on your company’s core activity and revenue, and entrust the small tasks to your colleagues, employees, cooperation partners, etc.
How many mistakes have you made?
Albert Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” While Nelson Mandela once said: “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
So, if you want better results, we suggest doing things differently, learning and continuing to move forward, no matter what!