Why do some small businesses experience tremendous success and generate large revenue while others can barely keep afloat? Better yet, what can you do this year to be one of those successful companies?
All businesses will do things differently; there is no surefire template for success that will work for every single business. However, there’s a common trend of qualities that most industry leading small businesses share that keep them on top.
Model and put into practice these five qualities shared by many successful small businesses across the globe:
1. Grow within Your Niche
Successful small businesses are not afraid of putting all their eggs in one basket. They have discovered that targeting a niche audience can result in customer loyalty, which translates to repeat purchasing. Small businesses like Quality Bike Products, which has revenue of $200 million, keeps growing within their niche. They are now the nation’s largest distributor of bicycle parts and accessories, and they still focus on the simple niche they started with—bicycle products.
Focusing on a niche helps you stay connected to your customers and have depth and understanding of what they need. When you truly and intimately understand consumer needs, you have a better chance of satisfying them.
2. Focus on Skills
If you are skilled in the medical field, chances are you will have a hard time establishing a business in bread making. It requires great understanding and a lot of time to start a business in a niche you are not familiar with. It is always best to focus on an industry that you know and understand.
Avid cyclists Steve Flagg and Mary Henrickson started the company Quality Bike Products. Because these owners already knew the cycling industry and understood the needs of average cyclists, their knowledge worked tremendously in their favor when building their brand.
3. Recognize Outstanding Performers
Blink UX, a business consultancy with revenues of about $12 million and a clientele list boasting big names like Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft, offers two of its outstanding employees an opportunity to become partners in the business each year. The shares offered might be small, but it is still a motivating gesture for the employees. Blink UX also encourages a transparent work culture and provides a conducive working environment that employees want to be a part of for a long time.
When you recognize exceptional performance, you encourage hard work and dedication among your employees. It’s no longer just about the recognition prize, but a commitment to giving their best to your company because they feel respected and valued. Employees who are happy with their working environment and feel valued will translate their satisfaction to your clients, creating happy, loyal customers.
4. Stay Cozy with Customers
Some of the top small businesses deliberately chose to stay small in order to maintain close relations with their customers. This decision has proven to be very profitable. Fresno First Bank, which employs only 33 people but has a revenue of $12 million, is a good example. They chose to remain in a single location rather than opening other branches. This has helped the company minimize its costs, but the greatest benefit lies in their flat organizational structure that allows them to be more efficient in addressing customer needs.
Customers appreciate the familiarity with the bank- knowing where to find it, how they can get help, and having assurance that their problems will be addressed directly, instead of waiting for a response from company headquarters that might be located somewhere far from them. This has gained the bank its customers’ loyalty and continued support.
5. Take Unconventional Steps
Many top small businesses achieved their success by moving away from the norm, doing what might seem a little eccentric to others. They are not afraid to tread unexplored paths and start new trends; this has rewarded them greatly.
In 2013, New Belgium Brewing sold itself to its employees. Today, it is entirely owned by employees through a stock ownership plan that’s setting trends for progressive management. The company has an estimated revenue of $225 million, which has been increasing significantly since that unconventional move.
Many other industry-leading companies, such as Torch Technologies (another fully employee owned company with revenues of $240 million) have benefited from implementing unconventional ideas in their business.
It might be safer to follow the tried and tested industry standards, but companies like those mentioned above are proving that there are great rewards in innovative thinking. Approach your business strategies in unorthodox ways and you’ll find your business standing out from the competition.
To achieve business success, you must develop a great business model and focus on improving your structure from within. Remember, it’s difficult to provide superior service to your customers if your company is on shaky ground.