How can small businesses look up to bigger corporations?
There are a lot of big brands I look up too. In fact, that's why I became passionate about entering entrepreneurship. I want my business model to be a mirror of theirs. Is that possible to do at a smaller scale? What key things can startups take away from big brands and apply to their own business?
Good to benchmark and I always encourage companies to benchmark successful large companies or brands.
However we need to realize that to reach that "big" stage, you need to start from small.
Startup phase is inevitable if you start from zero, or you may consider to buy an exiting grown company (like how people takeover companies).
So observe what you should do during Starup stage, you may align your vision to the benchmark companies, however you must not run like them during startup stage. Organic grow needs time to shape your business and eventually when you turn bigger, your company will be a unique one even though you had benchmark some big companies. I.e. we try to shape our company toward what we benchmark but not copy 100% of benchmark.
As a startup ...try to sell, sell, sell. The more you can sell the more chance you can shape your business better. Why? Selling not only essential for survival, it also the only channel that open the communication between you and your customers. - very important for a Startup.
Welcome to the entrepreneurship world Morgan! As a startup founder, I do love to see big startups and listen to their successful story, but I can't fully adapt / mirror their business model.
Take a step back to sit and focus on your startup, then refer to the giants:
(1) The business purpose -- what's the problem you would like to answer? or what kind of opportunity you found that others not yet do? Venture Capitals or Investors would love to hear the purpose behind you jumpstart your business.
(refer to the giants): All big startups have a clear message and solid answer about this.
(2) The market -- Who's your target market? what about the market size? is it profitable and scalable? While we gather this data, find as much as you can that can support your presentation.
(refer to the giants): You can refer to the big company who has the same model you would like to adapt with and gather their findings / insights as your foundation. But don't copy it directly. Most startup failed to prove their diligence on data, simply because they said, "my market size are as big as Airbnb because we do the same thing." No VC / Investors would buy that. Find your own way.
(3) Market validation - do lots of interview with your customers, find what they really NEED (not want / desire). Then you start to develop the product
(4) The product development phase - once you got the clearer picture of your customers' issue, then start develop the solution, which is your product. Even if you found lots of issue, don't make solution for all of it. Find the most irritating issue (one problem), then start building the product. In startups, we called it MVP (minimum viable product)
(refer to the giants): Facebook doesn't happen to be like this when Mark started it years ago. He simply start with comparing girls / boys among universities. That's Facebook MVP. Through times, customers' needs are upgrading. They start to asking a profile, add more picture, and goes on and on and on. If you tempted to answer ALL of your customers' issues, believe me, you will never make one. FOCUS and FOCUS.
All the best for you Morgan!
Every adventure is its own because the times and initial starting points are different. The big brands can show you how They went but the ride will be different for you. Be excited about your product or service and how you will be better than the ones before you.
I suggest you need to reframe the objective. Attempting to mirror the end result of a big brand - good. Emulate the process by which that brand got there - not so good. Be your own brand evangelist and drive value how you think you are best able, and understand those mega brands adjusted their strategies as they grew. Aspire to be an honest brand with a clear and differentiated positioning, but find your own path. Learn from their successes and failures, but be true to yourself and your brand. You will be rewarded for that, not for copying another's model.
Replicating a large company business model almost never works for a small business. However, emulating their way of branding or the concept of their product as perceived by your target market and your customer base can be useful.
Large companies are far different from the way they started as a small business. When Apple started it had some products and philosophy but the Apple today is a great deal different, even in its approach to its brand that when it started.
Find a product or service and business you are passionate about, then decide who your target market is and who is the most successful brand in that target market. Then decide if their approach to the market in building their brand could work for your product/service for the customer.
But fundamentally, you have to understand your business and the market for it and design an intelligent approach to succeed.
It depends on your business model - 1) who do you want to sell to, and 2) what are you trying to sell? For example, your approach (and expenses) in reaching a mass consumer market will be very different from selling to a small number of large corporations. If you can answer the 2 questions above, you'll get much sharper feedback.
All very good advice so far. I also recommend you find you own identity and intentionally develop the "culture" you want and need to attract the people you want in your company -that fit that culture. Of course you need a strong customer focus. No 2 company cultures are alike - each is a composite of the people that work there. Your most important decisions are about the people you hire - that they fit your culture. Culture always trumps strategy. It can make you great or it can make you fail.
Only consider trying to emulate a specific company IF your goal in starting the business is to be purchased by them and then do some serous homework. Otherwise, be who you are and the the very best of who you are.
I think the biggest take-away to me is we all know all big brands started small. So in a larger sense we need to learn from their growth phase rather than the matured business situation.
Second thing would be know that business is different from family or personal matters and quite often in initial phases there could be conflicts in managing business interests. it would be a great learning to know how this was managed
I focus on generating value for the client, and doing my job with great passion and humility, as well as high quality with short delivery time. That has generated a "bush radio", as we say in Finland - and the bush radio carries a long way in marketing.
Copying is another thing I do, and urge everybody else to do. Bigger companies have used a lot of time and money for something. With this I mean to copy the ideas from here and there, mix them to fit in your own business. Direct copying of something is cheap and lame ;)
What exactly about big brands made you so passionate about entrepreneurship Morgan? Their size, success, story, profits, products or services, ...If there is one thing I learned from successful big brands, it is to make sure clients or customers can rely on the quality of the product/service to be each and every time up to the same *hopefully high* standard. If you know you cannot deliver this, it might be better not to offer the product and/or service at all. But to be honest, I think it would be more interesting to find out what your USP is as a small business owner as compared to the big brands ...
At Umbroller we followed the Rubbermaid approach and were eventually acquired by them; at American Power Conversion it was Apple, from the first Steve Jobs days, and that worked; at Simply Magazine we put ourselves in alignment with Apple and now ride their wave with Simply Books APP that has led us into India, China, and Africa, with the Steve Jobs again! 99 cent per title approach. Price matters and he built the new Apple on that in the Apple ecostructure. We got on to audible.com to audition so to speak which led us to staples.com, costco.ca, and elsewhere. The modest of respecting others is especially appreciated by your prospective customers as well as for them to "fit you into" what you are trying to do. Take away: Get into alignment with respected brands; learn from them; and you will improve your odds to succeed.
Most big brands are poor exemplars for small business.
Focus on developing and communicating your value proposition and differentiation.
Invent your own dance!
What big business is good at is branding...They brand and advertise their mission and vision statements, at least those that do well...As an entrepreneur brand yourself, your ideas, your vision and mission statement...Always remember your brand and stay with it...
I think its good to think in this way but It never can be as the big corporation in any way , you can think & build your busines in similer line even similer products , you need to work with very long breath in order to move slowly in any market strugling to reach at certain point within long period of time , We don"t know how the circumstances will be during your working period , If you have good fortune & may succeed within a short time . any way I wish you all the best & good luck .
Branding requires your own innovative thoughts of how your product and services will become an asset in the minds of your target market and audience. The concepts and models that large businesses and corporations can be used to develop your innovation, but should not be totally relied on because your product is your baby and you will want to take good care of it int he beginning stages.
Some of the typical steps for branding are:
Knowing how your brand add value to your target audience
Having a clear and concise vision for your product and services...who, what, when, where, how, etc.
Establishing goals to impact the market successfully
Develop and Marketing plan for branding...Proctor and Gamble is very big on branding of their products...Bounty the quicker picker upper...to mention has a slogan that stays mind of the purchaser...the words they say in the commercial has a psychological impact that influence confidence in their product...This can be down with YouTube Trailers...Video Adverts...in with promotes and international reach...Of course there are many other things to take into consideration. So schedule sometime out for each day to be innovative in your approach...be a trendsetter...Many blessings.
Create a strong brand, have a logo, website, use about 3 different fonts in all media, set up marketing campaigns to target your audience.
Some key things that in my opinion do apply to (most) small businesses:
•Kaizen (and all other business process optimisation techniques).
•Use of marketing (obviously on a smaller scale).
•Have a professional looking website.
•Use social media (keep in mind not to waste too much time).
•Maintain a house style (uniform theme in your visual appearance).
•Press releases when you have something truly noteworthy to announce.
•Have an email address linked to your own domain name.
•Go Green (this is gaining fast popularity, is good for marketing and it is simply the right thing to do).
On a side note I would not look up too much to big brands, a lot of them are really not that cool. They simply do everything to impress you (and all others) into thinking they are (that is basically what marketing & branding is all about). My advise would be to simply forget all about the big brands and focus on becoming an added value to the world and society.
The main thing I use is the aura or "reality distortion field" that these companies create from big bucks and power advertising. You can also have that feel if you care about your business. Sometimes you can merge 2 or 3 good feelings from things like packaging, policy towards ethnicities, investment in charity etc.
What is it that you value about bigger corporations? I, personally got into entrepreneurship because I wanted to break away from the corporate structure, which I found to be lumbering and tone deaf.
As entrepreneurs, we're small and fast. We can pivot on a dime and make strategic decisions in hours where it takes corporate structures years or even decades to change course.
It's important to take stock of the benefits to being a smaller, if less funded venture. That way, we can navigate the market by making use of our best features instead of wishing things were different.
Define what you are passionate about and indentify brands that share your passion. As you begin to learn more about the brands that share your passion, you will learn some things you don't like about them as well. Focus on their positive attributes and learn from their negative attributes so your entrepreneurial venture will be all about YOU and your vision, mission and values.