Most small business fail within the first 18 months, according to Forbes. With emerging trends, many large corporations are also floundering, struggling to stay relevant to consumers. Though the reasons for this are many, much of it can be attributed to the changing cost of business. With the growth of a more global market comes the need to provide for this new consumer base. Businesses have to compete on a global level, no matter the size of their company.
Get Personal Again
The growth of this market, exciting though it may be, presents with it new costs possibly unforeseen by the eager entrepreneur, or overlooked by the more seasoned CEO. They can no longer afford to limit their consumer demographics because the global market has expanded the playing field. Surprisingly, business is becoming personal again. The days where local merchants knew every customer by name might be long gone, but the era where the success of business hinges solely on the numbers, is not far behind. The growing trend in business is personal connection, and consumers are showing it’s a trend that’s here to stay.
People love to connect. Consumers will put their money into a product manufactured and sold halfway around the world, if it is marketed to them with a powerful message, and if there is a sense of personal connection to the company. This person to person connection is cutting out the need for the middle man. Yes, we’ve always bought our products from China, perhaps unknown to us. But a touching video and a few well placed ads on social media, and consumers will buy products direct from the local Chinese company, instead of a major corporation. Some do it for the novelty of it, but most do it because it gives them the sensation that they know who made their product, that they have helped support actual people. It makes them feel connected.
So how can small businesses and corporations alike, create the atmosphere of consumer partnership that is so appealing to this new global generation?
Learn To Connect
Businesses must never underestimate the value of person to person connection. Video conferencing, personal stories highlighting real people in advertising, emphasizing the impact of the individual as opposed to the company as a whole; these are all tools to both widen and personalize the company’s consumer base. And the global market is quickly becoming a perfect dichotomy of wide but personal.
Small businesses can especially benefit from a more personable business model, because the new tools of networking and connection are surprisingly inexpensive. Social Media platforms are mostly free, and video conferencing can cut the significant costs of business travel.
According to Certify, the average cost of domestic travel for businesses is $111.7 billion a year. The use of video conferencing can alleviate the financial burden of those costly meetings so necessary to a company’s growth. A small business in Maine can connect with as many venture capitalists’ in California as they can schedule, without the added expense and limitations of travel. Using technology like video conferencing equipment BlueJeans, small businesses around the world can conduct meetings at a rate and pace traditionally seen in larger corporations, and with a much broader audience. Video conferencing can be a tool to connect with potential clients as well as business partners.
As much as the business world used to be factual and impersonal, the businesses with the most success today have found the hidden gem in personal connection. Those that are growing in popularity are ones that pair a cause with a product. Businesses large and small can use Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to subtly introduce their product in ways that appeal to social media users, a global base. A moving 1-minute video can tease a new product or movement and begin a connection from business to consumer that would not exist via traditional methods. According to Business News Daily, “Constantly pushing advertisements and sales copies no longer works on today’s increasingly social-media-savvy consumers, which means businesses need to take on a more strategic, relationship-building approach”.
It is also extremely effective at correcting failed practices. A poor consumer experience will go viral within minutes of the actual event, and be forever cataloged in internet history. Social media not only gives businesses direct insight into what their clients and customers need, but it also gives them a platform to address those issues personally, publically, and in real time.
The prominence of such a plugged in, global consumer base need not be intimidating for businesses. This new market comes with a treasure trove of new opportunities. Businesses can now connect better, faster, and more succinctly. The result is a clientele that will span across demographics, and a way for any business, large or small, to make partnerships as well as profit.