What I’ve Learned By Observing Small Businesses

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Actually Human Centric

Rhode Island is a small state. You can’t help but see the shops, restaurants, and brands around as part of the community. After all, if your family doesn’t own, run, or work at one your friends or neighbors do.

When there’s a new opening, or a local market, or a school’s sports game those businesses are there— in the real world. You will see chefs walk up in line behind you at the new food truck across the street. You’ll see restaurants use local products as ingredients in their specialty recipes. Team t-shirts will be made and sponsored by a familiar name.

Across industries and sectors, small business operators look out for and support each other. Practically speaking, it’s a win/win because it fosters brand awareness but that’s not why they do it.

Trust Your Gut

This phenomenon occurs for the same reason small biz owners do most things. Intent. It’s in their gut. It’s the right thing to do. And as more of these brands around me begin to practice this sentiment into the digital realm it connects and validates a larger thesis of brand storytelling.

Other businesses in the same sector aren’t truly the competition. Competition is attention and word-of-mouth. When brands publish original content and curate editorials they behave more like a media company, or trade magazine, or community mailer… just as they always have on the grape vine of neighborhood gossip.

This idea (which is essentially branding vs short term sales) comes naturally to small businesses around me… mainly because those owners live, eat, and breath their business. It’s their life, livelihood, and legacy. A family business aims to support the family, and leave something of substance behind for the next generation; they’re not concerned with increasing cash fast so they can move on to the next project, or build up equity quickly so they can be bought out by Umbrella.

A Resource for Motivation

The visceral instinct small business owners and operators have in their blood, in their gut, and with their intent is inherently aligned with the branding best practices that are allowing larger entities to gain attention and market share on the newest digital platforms. This is intriguing, motivating, and exciting to me.

Ryan CaldaroneComment