Every big business in existence was small at some point in their beginning—from Apple to Starbucks to Jiffy Lube—and they would have stayed small, if it weren’t for some big ideas.
That said, what sets you apart from the sea of small businesses out there, which make up 98% of all employer firms in the U.S.? And how do you think big when you are, in fact, small, and facing the struggles and limitations inherent in being so?
Below are several tools that have helped me to grow—in my mindset, and in my actual business. I believe they will help you do the same.
ANALYZE AND STRATEGIZE: Conduct a SWOT analysis, looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Consider your competitors and the perspective of your clientele. After you’ve done that, you can determine in which areas you need to delve deeper.
The point? Know thyself—in business, as in life. A SWOT analysis gives you an opportunity to reflect, analyze, and then strategize. It offers perspective and helps you to see the big picture. After it is complete, the areas that need more analysis will make themselves clear, and you will be ready for your next big steps.
ADD THAT PERSONAL TOUCH AND CONNECT: People trust businesses that share their unique voice and authenticity, period. Human beings are engaged by those that go that extra mile—when it’s not just about selling a product or service, but rather about sharing a personal passion, expertise, or desire to connect.
Believe it or not, harnessing the immense power of social media is not beyond you. If you don’t have the staff that a larger business might dedicate to it, Facebook and Twitter are user-friendly services that you can either use yourself, or delegate to a willing staff member.
If the funds are available, consider hiring a social media consultant, with the time and expertise to really energize your online presence. Otherwise, determine what you yourself have the time and capacity to do.
CLAIM YOUR SPOT ON THE BLOGOSPHERE: A blog, like social media, can help to create a community of influence around your business. Even if you’re not the best writer, it can be done. Hiring someone to help you write the occasional blog post, or assist you with editing, is not a huge expense. With the right support, blogging can be an incredible tool to increase your exposure and share your message.
FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS: This involves establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between your business and another, large or small. Through such a relationship, you can build capacity, open yourself to new markets, and expand your market share. Also, partnering with a reputable company can serve as an advantage, offering a compelling selling point for new clientele.
To start, consider what you can offer another business. From then on, it’s a matter of networking, resolve, and confidence—and a formalized agreement, once you find the right partner.
PLAY UP YOUR ASSETS AND RECOGNIZE LIMITATIONS: Find programs to support you, engage in small business conferences and networking events, attend trainings, and take full advantage of your classification.
Perspective and attitude are vital. Use the tools that larger businesses use, and you may be surprised by the changes you see. Let yourself dream, trust and ultimately, succeed. Believe you can obtain your dream, just be sure to always think out side of the box and your comfort zone! You are meant to be a game changer for sure! Happy Business!
Marjorie Perry is president and CEO of Newark, N.J.-based MZM Construction & Management Co. She has earned numerous honors, including being named one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs in New Jersey and the SBA’s New Jersey Businessperson of the Year. She is also a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Under Perry’s leadership, MZM Construction has had 19 years of profitable performance, working on projects including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Meadowlands Giants & Jets Sports Arena.