Every day, when you watch or read the news there is always something that might catch your eyes that might motivate or empower you to make a change, whether in your personal life or better yet your business. As a small business owner, you can use what you see and hear every day to entice you to think outside the box and come up with great ideas to grow your business. For instance, there was a story a while back of a young advertising major in London who couldn’t get a job. Alfred Ajani had tried the traditional way—filling out 300 applications and waiting for a response—and got nowhere. Not willing to give up on his dream, he stood outside the subway stop where most agencies in his desired field were located, with a sign advertising his university, degree, and GPA, offering his resume to anyone who asked… and guess what? He got his dream job at an advertising agency because of it.
Small business owners you can resonate with this story. Every day, you’re faced with the challenge of running—and growing your business. Sometimes it can feel that you’re in a crowded arena, much like the young man in the story—and it can be a struggle to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Here are a few lessons to be learned from this story, and how you can apply it to your business.
Don’t wait for your customers to come to you
If you know where your customers are—and they’re not currently at your store—go to them. Tell them about your business, and why they should become your customer. For instance, if you own a sports bar you could go to a sporting event with a t-shirt or hat that advertises your business—it could spark up a conversation with potential customers. If you own a clothing boutique that caters to women, go to a hair salon and ask if they’ll let you put out flyers next to the magazines.
Don’t be afraid to try something bold
It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Alfred got his dream job because he found a way to differentiate himself from everyone else looking for a job after they graduated. He didn’t have to be the best candidate, but he managed to make himself stand out from the crowd. You can apply this to your own business by highlighting what makes it unique to your area and customers. Here in Los Angeles, our CEO noticed an innovative tactic by a local small business. A bakery paid the parking meters up and down the block by their business, and left a note that said, “your parking paid for by a local bakery, come visit us.” Guess what? Their shop had a line out the door after that. For some restaurants, this means cutting off the tie of anyone who walks into your establishment, for others, it’s giving free goods or services to members of the armed forces. Whatever it is—make sure you promote it and stand out from the rest.
Ask for what you want
Alfred wanted a job, so he went to where the people were who could give him one and asked them for it. Sometimes getting what you want is as simple as asking the right person for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want—whether it’s strategic partnerships, discounts from your suppliers, or even financing. The worst someone can say to you is no…although at BriteCap, we like to say YES!