Why Growing Your Local Business Has Unique Challenges
What do a hair salon, real estate agency, and small law firm have in common? Sure, they’re all in your hometown, but they also depend on person-to-person relationships.
Think about how you’d find an architect to design your dream home—you’d ask your mansion-owning friends for recommendations.
Because of this type of friend-to-friend referral engine, growing a local business is heaps different from building a global software company. Unlike online growth strategies, local growth focuses on grassroots efforts that connect individuals in a targeted region—not the masses. The core of local growth is building relationships.
Here are a few key differences to keep in mind as you put together your growth strategy:
Your Audience is Smaller (You Can Easily Target Your Market)
Think of a large national or international company in comparison to a local restaurant. The audiences for these two businesses are vastly different. The large company has to appeal to many different demographics across the country in communities they may have never even visited, while the local restaurant has a much smaller audience which they can cater to while getting to know them very well. The relationship between the local business and the community is far more intimate.
You Satisfy Basic Needs (You Can Become Part of Anyone’s Routine)
Because you provide a service to a local area, you’re much more likely to satisfy people’s basic needs than a fancy online business. You help people in their town when they need to sell or buy a house, orient their finances, get a bite to eat, or gain a new hobby. You might sell them cabinets, swimming pool services, floral arrangements, or something else. You can become the community’s go-to with a little bit of elbow grease.
Trust is Paramount (The Only Way to Get Them Coming Back)
Local businesses depend on trust more than any other business. That’s because local businesses cultivate real flesh-and-blood relationships. If your customers don’t trust you, they won’t come back, and they won’t recommend you to your friends. Trust is the glue that binds your local business to the community.
Your Establishment Matters (Keep The Place Spic and Span)
An online business doesn’t have a public headquarters, but you probably do. Whether you run a machine shop, architecture firm, restaurant, or printing business, your establishment matters. The look and feel of your business space is SO important. It not only needs to be clean, but also should provide a comforting atmosphere that proves you’re trustworthy, responsible, and good at what you do.