This is undoubtedly a good thing, particularly for businesses that were once confined to a storefront on a dying high street. However, it also raises a tricky issue of how small businesses can compete in this one massive marketplace. Especially as more and more small fries are jumping on the bandwagon, and that by the end of the year, ninety-two percent of businesses will have a web presence.
Of course, time and money need to be spent on SEO, social media, and designing a killer website. But if you really want to shift from small only-locally-known business to major global omnipresent brand, you need to first start thinking smaller and closer to home.
You can only start from where you are
To go global, you don’t want to jump straight into working on massive scales and trying to bring to life grand visions. The best place to start is always where you are, and so you want to begin by building a strategy that’s grounded in your local success.
First, this involves getting clear on your business goals and deciding on the metrics you’re going to use out to measure your efforts. You can do this by creating a short, medium, and long-term plan, and giving each stage its own key performance indicators or KPIs, or quantifiable measures you can use to gauge your performance over time.
One of your initial KPIs may be hitting a certain number of Instagram followers. You may then move your focus to establishing a blog or getting on board a certain social media influencer or ambassador. Over the longer term, you may aim to set up other physical branches or establish multiple online storefronts.
There are many questions and decisions here that at the very least you want to be aware of. For instance, do you need to adjust your branding or offering to make them more appropriate for an international audience? Are you going to stick with the parent brand or create new ones? And what about your pricing and shipping, tone of voice, sales policy, infrastructure, and customer support?
You may not be able to answer such questions right off the bat, and if all of this sounds too confusing, then you probably don’t need to worry about them. But having them on your radar as early on as possible will help you create a brand that’s scalable and universally appealing.
To go big, first you’ve got to go small
The more your business expands its presence and the more it grows, the more it will start to tread on the toes of the big players in your niche or industry.
This is where many brands hit a brick wall. They come up against a big competitor who already does everything they do but better and on a bigger scale, and see their opportunity to compete as limited.
This is only the case, however, if you’re trying to compete like-for-like. Consumers are sick of dealing with faceless conglomerates and are craving real, intimate, and personal brands to do business with. It’s why Weight Watchers now use a DJ and social media star as their brand ambassador, and why Spotify went super niche and relevant with its New Year ad campaign.
There is a unique opportunity here to not only hold your own against the big guys, but even overtake them. It’s all about honing down on your smallness. Discover what it is that makes your business different, what you offer to your customers that no-one else can, and what values and principles your company and brand stand for.
By getting clear on these questions, you can help find your gap in the era of personalised experiences and micro-moments. This is the environment in which the overnight viral ad campaign by a tiny Canadian mom and pop store is possible, and in which it only takes one instant for a customer to find you, connect with your message, and Like, share, follow, sign up, or buy your product or service.
The key to stepping up your game and taking your brand to a global level, then, lays in your ability to focus on the individual and relate to them on a personal level. Get that right, and there’s really no limit to how far you can spread and big you can become.