Recently, Vistaprint released results of a survey on small businesses, specifically regarding their websites. It’s worth sitting up and paying attention here because there’s a great deal we can learn from their findings.
In Britain we have an intense entrepreneurial spirit, which we’re renowned for globally. However, we’re falling short. Despite the great support that’s offered for start-ups, uniqueness in business is something the UK is lacking.
The picture of small business in the UK
According to this House of Commons Briefing Paper, 99% of businesses in Britain are classified as small to medium businesses. Of that vast proportion a staggering 96% of these are actually micro businesses, which are businesses with 1-9 employees.
Micro-businesses have been hailed as the backbone of the British economy, however, according to the Vistaprint report there’s a danger of being lost in the crowd.
How unique are you?
On closer inspection of the report it becomes apparent that it’s often the websites that need the work. Capturing your uniqueness online enables you to market and promote yourself, creating a crucial selling point for your business.
Fundamentally, your identity matters. If you blend in to a homogenous crowd of other similar businesses then you’re losing out and your customers won’t recognise you as different – and neither will search engines.
A company’s identity is the secret behind so much of its success. It creates loyalty and can even give you the competitive edge, which is why you should pay it that extra bit of attention.
How to be unique
Perhaps small businesses are struggling to be unique because they lack the knowledge of how to do it. For example, 77% of UK small business websites use more than one font on their website. Because of this they’re sending a jumbled message about their business personality, possibly without even realising.
The good news is that creating a unique identity isn’t hard, but it does rest on a foundation of consistency. First you need to identify your unique qualities. Second, you need to be consistent in how you communicate them. The report breaks this in to four sections:
- Identify your Unique Selling Point (USP)
This is all about understanding what makes you different. What are you proud of? How do you stand out from others?
- Define your core values
This is about what your business stands for. What is at the absolute heart of your brand? These values are the influencers in your business and are crucial for making you unique.
- Convey your USP and values to your customers
Chances are you have a good idea of the top two points already, even if you haven’t actively defined them before. However, this is the stage where small businesses are falling short. You need to communicate points one and two clearly and consistently to your customers.
- Tell your business story
This makes you relatable. It helps you connect your brand to your customer and build the same excitement in them that you felt at the start. Building a customer connection is vital to customer loyalty.
Knowing that it is important to be a unique business is one thing. Acting on it is where we are letting ourselves down.
Take the time this week to think about how much you communicate your unique qualities to your customers.