Have you heard the idea that your thoughts become the words you speak? Then those words become beliefs, then actions, habits, character and ultimately, your destiny?
And as society exclaims that small business is local, you stand alongside, beaming with pride.
Unfortunately, your belief manifests into your actions of remaining local, and in doing so, you place limitations on your success. Yes, you may be successful -- but only to the few thousand people in your local neighborhood.
The world-view model of location, location, location doesn’t exist anymore for small businesses. You used to be constrained by geography, building relationships with your neighbors, friends and co-workers in anticipation of the limited amount of revenue you’d receive for your products or services month after month.
As the Internet exploded, you realized there was less traffic to your store, less demand for your services and less profit to take home. The global marketplace brought new plumbers to your neighbors, computers direct to their doors and ready-to-eat meals to their kitchen tables.
The world of small business shifted from local to personal in the blink of an eye.
Markets have expanded, and the opportunity to challenge yourself and release the shackles of being "local" is within reach, yet too many entrepreneurs are constrained by a choice to remain local.
You're an entrepreneur. You're out to create something great. But, you must choose to change your mindset and shift from local to personal.
The small-business advantage
As a small business owner, you have many advantages over large corporations in your ability to be agile, make quick decisions and pivot. You’re not constrained by the bureaucracy that plagues larger corporations. You can review the data, make inferences on the trends and shift directions when you choose to do so.
You also have the distinct ability to build close relationships with your customers. Your customers are people that you care about and often know by name. They know they’re not a number to you because you work diligently to provide the high level of quality and customer service that they’ve come to expect from you.
It’s your ability to make personal connections that set you apart from your behemoth counterparts. Like 72 percent of small businesses, you use customer referrals as a way to generate new business offline. You personally follow up with customers to the best of your ability with phone calls, direct mail or emails.
Technology changes the game
If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have the labor resources that many large companies have. You’re often limited by the number of hours that you’re physically present to answer questions, close the sale and do the work. You know that in order to grow, you’ need to remove the constraints on your time with either labor resources or technology advancements.
The ability to scale efficiencies in your business used to be unheard of. A few short years ago, you managed your accounting using a written weekly bookkeeping record or perhaps you hired a CPA to take care of it for you and waited for their response to your inquires about the financial health of your business. Now, you can have instant access to your books 24/7 and can assess the financial health of your business in a matter of seconds.
Your ability to reach, acquire and nurture new customers has greatly improved as well. Through personalized automated follow up, you can send a response that’s based on your customer’s actions. When customers click an offer in your email, you can follow up with a series of emails that drives them closer and closer to purchase. You can close deals and sell products to anyone, anywhere, anytime without physically being present. You have the power to scale and achieve efficiencies like never before, if you choose that path.
Why small-business success matters
Technology allows you to take your personalized approach and scale it to the masses. You can reach more people than you ever could before. You can impact more lives with what you have to offer, but you have to find the solutions that enable you to shift from local to personal. By taking advantage of technology, you can expand your market outside of your local community and increase your chances of success.
Small-business success matters because it will change the trajectory of the middle class. When small businesses are successful, everyone wins. You win because your confidence grows, you’re providing for your family and living your dream. Your family benefits because you’re positive, present and involved. The local community benefits from more jobs, revenue and philanthropy.
Of course, you can still have a business relationship with the guy down the street. Just don’t limit yourself. Success has no boundaries or geographical limitations. It’s only limited by the constraints that you place upon it.
CLATE MASK CONTRIBUTOR to Entrepreneur Magazine Co-founder and CEO, Infusionsoft