Business is booming for some micro businesses. Recent marketing studies and most small business articles say that it is small businesses that are growing, sustaining and creating jobs. It is the little engine that can. But can it?
There are reports about local food-related and clothing-centric businesses that seem to suggest there are key trends to watch for – not only new and innovative products but how they are being distributed. Gail Lillian, owner of LibaSF has leveraged her food truck serving falafels into a stand-alone restaurant business with her recent expansion plans for Oakland. “The truck helped determine the market and build the right business skills – with key access points around the SF Bay Area.”
Micro entrepreneurs are reaching out to the markets – the specific, targeted niche markets that seem to respond to what is being offered and to clients and customers who are willing to pay for the quality or uniqueness of the service. There are pop-up shops and consignment retailers; there are food trucks; food stalls and food kiosks at the corner of your street and in the farmer’s markets. There are neighborhood street fairs for clothing lines and third world imports.
There are many, many “distribution channels”…and there are more and more businesses that are succeeding online with well-designed websites too. Laurie Kanes runs 12 Small Things (www.12smallthings.com), an on-line business providing access for artisans from many developing countries. Her focus and purpose is to “showcase and sell fashionable, fair trade products from artisans facing some of the most challenging conditions in the world”. This socially relevant business is targeting a niche and to do it well, must also execute and provide impeccable service. Laurie notes, “My competitive edge is to develop key partnerships to access the right markets and support the right artisans”.
Are these trends helpful to you and your micro businesses? We DO need to know who will buy our products and services; we DO have to be accessible, we DO have to tell our stories so people will be interested in what we have not just once, but over and over again.
However, the basic truth is we have to deliver – meet a promise and provide a benefit – and then build trust. Do what you say you are going to do and take the action to make it work well…again and again. Every new business requires an initial ignition but then after that first spark, we provide the consistent follow-through over and over again!
The business action plan that we use individually and with small groups, (see www.paulterry.com), is an excellent tool to make this happen for any small business.
Let’s see how well we can grow when we “deliver the goods”.