How to Stay Small and Win Big

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The business world can seem huge and overwhelming when you own a small business. Many small business owners feel as though they’re automatically at a disadvantage for awards, accolades, and recognition in their industries. If you think it’s going to be impossible for you to make a bigger name for you and your business, fear not. It is completely possible to stay small and win big.

How to maximize your company’s chances for success

Accomplishments all start with producing great work, even if that means you have a smaller team, budget, or client. The methodology that small businesses use to help solve their clients’ problems is what makes them unique, and it directly correlates with great results. My company,  Blueye Creative, was recognized for having an effective approach to social marketing, as designated by our PMD (Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer) status.

For the Blueye Creative team, the important factor was that we had done some really innovative work in Facebook’s newly opened ecosystem that addressed the “How does my brand take part in the conversation happening on Facebook?” question early on. I’ve learned that it all starts with the willingness to take risks and try building something new and unique. Then, you must build good case studies and strong examples, and continue to innovate. If you keep moving forward, you will get the recognition you deserve.

Develop a strategy to earn recognition for your small business

It is the ultimate compliment when you hear someone say, “Oh man, why didn’t I think of that?” That’s how you know when a strategic approach or concept is so intuitive and fitting for its audience that it truly resonates and yields results. When it comes to earning recognition or awards, the first step is to always have enough confidence in your work to put it out there and apply for awards in the first place. Don’t expect people to find you.

When applying for awards, make sure you tell a great story. Why did you take this approach/strategy? What’s the back story or inspiration? Own the results and the success. Derive insights from the raw data- from how or why your particular approach was successful. When Blueye Creative applied to be a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, we highlighted the successful adoption and engagement rates of applications we had built. Also, I recommend boasting about being a small company. Use your size to your advantage – it could grab the attention of others! Have you ever seen Rudy, Miracle, or any of the Mighty Ducks movies? Everyone likes the underdog.

What your small business can do to increase your chances of getting noticed

There are several approaches you can take to earn brand-name recognition:

  • Blog about industry trends. Attach your name to intelligent content.
  • Sit on panels focused on your industry and subtly mention how some of your work applies to principles you’re discussing.
  • Display your work on your website. Write blog posts that highlight the strategies you’ve used and the successes you’ve had. Let people know that what you do works!
  • Search for industry-specific awards. Look on your competitors’ sites and see what they’re winning.
  • Look across social networks to discover what people are lauding as the best businesses in your field, and what they’re being recognized for.
  • Host an event that launches your product or work and has some of your best efforts on display.

Use any or all of these approaches and gather all the information and data you can. Find as many ways as possible to highlight your company in a positive light.

Set realistic goals

Setting small goals is definitely important. Find some smaller, niche industry awards first. You can – and eventually will – move up in award size. If you do move up and win, make sure you can deliver on your promise if you win a big award. Lastly, make sure you promote all of the awards your small business has won on the company’s website. It’s not pointless bragging; you’re simply displaying your accomplishments for all to see so that people know the value of your company and your work. If you win and award, that’s something to be very proud of. There’s nothing wrong with letting the world know you’re great at what you do. In fact, it will boost potential customers’ confidence in hiring you to do work for them!

It may seem daunting, as you start small, to see yourself winning big. But, realize that the small size of your company is an advantage in a market dominated by giant, faceless corporations. You can give your customers what they want, deserve, and have been missing for a long while: personal attention and a relationship based on their needs. Do this, and you’ll become a small company that wins big!

Photography: Terren

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