1. Copying the Big Businesses
The number one mistake that I see small businesses make is trying to replicate big brands and what they’re doing. They’re big, they’re successful, they’re making a lot of money, and everyone knows who they are. As a small or mid-size business owner, if I just copy what they’re doing or follow along, I’m going to be successful too, right? No. In fact, it’s going to be detrimental to your marketing, advertising, and sales growth because of that mindset.
Don’t downplay what you have as a small business that big brands like Walmart and Starbucks can’t replicate. If you’re just trying to copy big brands, you’re just going to make it harder on yourself and your customers by not making it clear what really makes you special.
2. Not Niche or Consistent Enough
If you’re wondering to yourself, well, am I niche enough? The answer is no, you’re not. You can always be more niche. There’s a reason why a specialist makes more revenue. Why is that? Well, because they offer a very specific offering.
It’s almost paradoxical. If I can serve more people, I should make more money, right? Well no, because you’re competing with so much more. People have so many more options. It pays to be niche. If you’re running a plumbing company, don’t just say you do plumbing. Is it residential? Is it commercial? Is it high-end? Is it low-end? What’s your niche? What are you known for? You can always be more niche. We niched down at Big Red Jelly when Covid struck and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Next is to be consistent. Inconsistency will lead to confusion. Consistency in your content, marketing, and messaging will lead to more recognition and loyalty. You can’t keep switching up who you are, your aesthetic, your vibe, your design, your voice, or your positioning. It’ll confuse your customers.
3. You’ve Lost Track of Your UVPs
Why should I choose you over the hundreds of competitors out there? It’s easy over the course of time to continue to add more to your service. You can add perks, and features, change this, change that, whatever. But it’s so easy to lose track of your “elevator pitch” or what really makes you different.
One great exercise to do is to ask yourself, your leadership, your employees, and maybe even a couple of customers to describe who your brand is and why it’s different from everyone else. If they struggle to tell you or get it wrong, you’ve lost track of who you are.
You should be reviewing your brand annually, if not more. Review your vision, your values, and your UVPS, and then share those with your company regularly. At Big Red Jelly we do it on a quarterly basis. I like to take myself through our brand, build, and grow process, and I always find something that can be improved.
4. Falling Short in Original Content
Original content is the best kind of content, right? It’s also the hardest content to get, but it doesn’t have to be. Get your entire team involved and start making videos and blogs. Ask your customers or clients for a testimonial by offering them a discount or a coupon code. Incentivize them to post on their social media when they’re at your business. Have some fun neon sign or mural wall that people like to put on Instagram. Have some fun with it. User-generated content is the cream of the crop when it comes to original content because people connect with it.
5. Neglecting Your Personal Brand and Individual Team Member Brands
People engage with, care more about, and will buy more from personal brands than company brands. Why do you think influencers are running so many ads for companies now? That is the future of brands and marketing. People buy from people and personalities rather than just ideas and organizations.
If you’re a salon owner, then make some videos about a day in the life of what it’s like to be a salon owner. Post it to your company’s social channels and website.
There are also the personal brands of your team members. Give them some space to share content on your social media and website.
At Big Red Jelly our team page has everyone’s portfolio with client testimonials and content written by them. And guess what? Our team page is the second most visited page on our website after the homepage. Do you think that’s a coincidence? No, because visitors, customers, and clients who might work with us care about the people they are going to be working with, believe it or not, almost more than the service.
So, do NOT underestimate the power of your personal brand and the brands of your team members.
Bonus Tip: Above All Else, Be Obsessed with Your Product or Service
You have to obsess over your product and your customer. Obsess on how to make your product better, and better, and better. We can take a page out of tech companies and how fast they grow because they are constantly testing, failing, and growing. People will recognize that. So be obsessed.
So those are the top five mistakes that I see small businesses make when it comes to brand building and how to fix them. Branding is just as important to small businesses as it is to big businesses, if not more. The idea that brand strategy, development, and building is reserved for big corporations is just not true.
So take control of it. Own your brand.