When we hear “small business” we often think in Norman Rockwell-style imagery. We imagine a merchant doing simple things – stocking shelves, working a cash register, serving us “folks” (not “consumers”). But today’s reality is dramatically different.
Small merchants are busy with challenges that would boggle the minds of their predecessors. Consider what small merchants are now expected to do… to succeed in business by really trying:
Be smaller and bigger. Entrepreneurs are told that to be competitive with bigger companies they should specialize in the few things they do best – in other words, “go small.” However, they are also told that to be competitive they need to think and act globally, with e-commerce and social media – in other words, “go big.” The two things are not mutually exclusive, but it does tend to create a tug-of-war in the mind of a merchant. Am I big and global, or small and local? Which vision is more realistic?
Project the right image. Small merchants are now expected to project an image, not just sell goods or services. “Should our website make us look bigger than we are? Or should we be authentic and just show pictures of what we do?” If they asked such a question in the ol’ days, people would think they were contemplating fraud.
Develop a strategic plan. Now small
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