How “The Little Things” Can Help Your Startup Stand Out

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / February 26, 2024
Your Startup

What is the most challenging element of running a startup? For many, it’s the fear of the unknown.

Will your business get off the ground, or will it be a failure? What will you be doing in the next year or two years?

This fear stems from the fact that running a successful startup is incredibly hard. It’s estimated that approximately 90% of startups fail, and 20% fail within the first year. Don’t take these stats as motivation to walk away from your business idea before it starts. Small startups often fail because business owners don’t take the correct approach.

Your biggest problem isn’t other startups in your industry. There’s enough cake to go around for all the small businesses out there. The problem is the bigger companies you’re fighting against. These companies have lots of manpower keeping them afloat, more money, and something you won’t have: an established brand.

This makes it difficult for you to find new business as everyone goes to the recognized brands. As a consequence, you must think about ways to give your startup the edge over these bigger brands. What can you do to convince consumers to pick a little guy? Ironically, it all comes down to “the little things.” Instead of thinking about huge gestures, start implementing small things here and there to give your brand a personal touch. It’s a genius idea for small businesses – and we’ll explain the benefits and how-to’s in this article.

How The Little Things Benefit Your Small Startup

Your small business has one thing a big corporation lacks: heart.

You’re starting a company from the ground up within your local community, and that counts for a lot. People are starting to drift away from big corporations as they hope to support smaller businesses. It’s reported that 74% of consumers want to support small businesses, even when it’s not convenient.

Keeping that in mind, you can encourage people to support your startup by playing into the whole “small business” side of things. Differentiate yourself from bigger companies by showing that you’re more connected to your customers and that you’re a human being. That’s where small gestures come in; they show that your business has a heart and that you aren’t some corporate entity.

From here, local consumers will be more encouraged to buy your products/services as they know they’re supporting a genuine small business.

Small Gestures That Make A Massive Impact

What is a small gesture?

It’s something your business does that’s not directly related to the product/service but serves a beneficial purpose. It gives something extra to your customers – and it’s usually a small token or concept that sets your startup apart from bigger companies.

A better way to understand this is by looking at the small gestures you can make. We’ve listed a few below, demonstrating their simplicity and the benefits they’ll bring.

Free Gifts With Every Purchase

Who doesn’t love a free gift? Big companies will rarely dish out free gifts, so this is a chance for you to gain an advantage. The gifts don’t need to be huge; small things will be more than enough to make customers smile and feel appreciated. You could get some sticker printing done and provide loads of free stickers in every order. It’s a simple and inexpensive way of giving something extra to your customers – and they’ll love it.

This type of gesture makes a customer feel more connected to your startup. They love the kindness of it and it makes them more likely to leave positive reviews. In turn, this helps build your brand and establish trust within the community, making more people take notice of your startup.

There’s the additional benefit of using your free stickers as promotional material for your brand. Any customer who uses your stickers and shows them off to the world could secretly be advertising your company. Someone might see the sticker and ask where they got it, leading another customer straight into your lap.

Your Startup thank you notes

Personalized Thank You Notes

If you spend your money on something, you deserve a thank you. That’s not an unreasonable thing to say, yet hardly any big businesses do this. And the ones that do will have generic thank you cards written out for every customer.

Seeing a card in your order that says “Thank you for your purchase” means very little. It feels so robotic; almost like it’s done just to appease the customer – which, let’s be honest, is the exact reason big companies do this. They’re trying to appear more human and genuine, though the lack of authenticity shows.

As a small business, you have one thing going in your favor; time.

You won’t receive thousands of orders a day, so you have enough time to go through each order and write a personal thank you note for every customer. The key here is to ensure every note is personalized; include the customer’s name, details of their order, and so on. To make things even better, write all these notes by hand instead of typing them.

When a customer receives a personalized thank you note, it fills them with joy. They feel valued and appreciated; two things every customer wants to feel. It tells them that you genuinely care about their order and took the time to write out a note. You’re developing a human connection with your customers, which is the simplest way to encourage repeat visits.

Who are you more likely to buy from: a business that thanks you for every order or one that doesn’t care?

Human Customer Service

Bigger companies have more customers, so they can’t afford to provide human customer service at every contact point. When you email or message a company’s customer service team, you’re more than likely speaking to a bot. It’s only when the issue gets too hard for the bot to resolve that you make it to a human.

Customers HATE this. There aren’t many things as annoying as talking to a bot when you have issues or questions about an order. That’s why your business can implement the smallest thing ever and provide human customer service at all times.

Give your customers an easy way to get in direct contact with you – this can be via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or your email. Regardless, they can speak to you and get a human response all the time. It adds another personal touch to your business and improves the customer experience.

One of the dark sides of startups is poor customer service leading to a downturn in sales. This doesn’t need to happen to you; speak to your customers when they have concerns so they feel a) confident that your business can help them, and b) like they matter to you!

Personalized Discounts

A discount is a very small thing that won’t eat into your bottom line, yet can encourage many customers to come back again and again. Companies provide discounts all the time – but is there anything as irritating as getting a discount that’s not quite right for you?

For example, you buy clothes from a big retail company. You never buy shoes from this company as they don’t have any you like. But, you get a 20% discount on all shoe purchases. It looks like a great gesture, but the reality is that you’re never going to use it because you don’t buy those products from the company. It’s a complete waste – and your startup can learn from this.

Data analytics will come in handy here as it helps you monitor customer behavior. Look at what your customers are buying when they choose your business. Then, tailor discounts to meet their tastes. If they bought a specific product or type of product, offer a discount on the same product type. This encourages them to return as they get money off, but it also develops a good relationship between your brand and the customer. People know they’ll benefit from using your business, so they stick around.

Charity Donations

Finally, one of the smallest gestures you can make is a charity donation. It won’t cost your business a lot, yet it will help those less fortunate. Offer charity donations with every purchase to show that you’re giving back to others. It fosters a great connection with consumers as they see your small business as one with a big heart.

It’s little things like this that will convince someone their money is better spent away from big corporations. Even if you’re more expensive, they’ll see it as more beneficial to spend their money on your products/services as they know some of it also goes to a good cause.

See, all of these gestures are relatively small, though they change your business immeasurably. It’s all about creating a sense of humanity for your startup and convincing consumers that they’re better off picking you over a corporate shell of a company. This is how you beat the big boys! You don’t go toe-to-toe with their offerings; you focus on the little things to make your startup more human.

Internal image provided by Kelly Sikkema; Unsplash; Thanks!

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.