Having an ok business is ok. You’ve branched out, made the leap into being a business owner, and you’ll be doing what you love every day, and that’s ok.
But what about being remarkable? Running a business that’s leagues better than ok. A business that inspires people to leave the 9-5 herd and go out alone, just like you did. A business that does more, and is more, than it has to be. A business that isn’t just a business, but something that people eat, sleep, breathe, and live. A remarkable business.
Think of the most remarkable person you know. What is it that sets them apart from the other people in your life? Whether it’s because they go the extra mile, they’re passionate about what they believe in, or because they excel at everything they turn their hand to, there’s plenty you can apply to your business.
Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at (or beyond) the edge.” - Seth Godin
As a startup or small business, you’re in the perfect position to create a remarkable business: you aren’t a faceless corporation, and you’ve taken the leap into business fuelled by passion and creativity. You’re as real, open, and human as they come, so let it play to your strengths.
Here at MOO we’re lucky to work with some brilliant, brave, and remarkable businesses (and be part of one!), so we thought we’d share our secrets. It’s hard to put extraordinary in a box, so we’re here to try and put it in writing, and help you and your business get to the next level.
Why do you need a remarkable business?
Consumers don’t have to rely on price or quality to make a decision anymore, due to the overwhelming choice of high-quality and value for money products. Instead, they can be more choosey, and pick their favourite companies. A remarkable business will not only help you stand out among competitors, but if your values and principles are clearly displayed, likeminded customers will be drawn towards you.
Brands are often the decision maker when it comes to deciding between similar products, and as people tend to build allegiances towards their favourites, it pays to have an amazing business that people will recognise, love, and not want to leave!
A remarkable business can grow, develop, and adapt as the market does. As new products and ideas come into the fore, your business should move to keep up, without losing track of its principles and values. If it’s remarkable, you’ll be the market-leaders, and you won’t lose your loyal customer-base in the process.
What makes a business remarkable?
Being brilliant isn’t something that people are born doing. It takes guts to be remarkable, because being remarkable means you’re different – and for a lot of people, that’s a pretty scary option. If you believe in your business enough to start it, then draw on that confidence and self-belief, and take it to the next level.
Go the extra mile: you can’t just decide you want to be fabulous; you have to act like it too. Start doing more than necessary, and do it all out of the goodness of your heart. How can you make life easier for your customers? Can you ensure they have the best possible experience? Be the company that customers think must be too good to be true.
No excuses: stop saying why you can’t do something or why you didn’t do something else: either do it, or stop complaining that you can’t! A negative outlook can bring down an entire team, so instead focus on what you can do. Maybe there’s no chance of beating a multi-national company, but you can be better than them locally. Make a decision to see the good, not the bad.
Talk, talk, talk! You don’t know where you might end up – just like Leah Busque, one of our remarkable customers, and founder of TaskRabbit: “I didn't care if it was the guy next to me in the coffee shop, the guy riding next to me on the bus, if it was someone I could network with, another entrepreneur or a business person, and I just really wanted to get feedback on the idea.” Listen to the rest of Leah’s advice here.
Stick to your guns: learn to say no! If something might compromise your company’s authenticity or character, say no. Don’t feel bad about it, and don’t get tricked into thinking it’s what you want. You know the core values and principles at the heart of your business, so don’t detract from them, and diminish your reputation. Being remarkable is all about choosing the best opportunities, rather than grabbing anything that comes along.
Don’t settle: second best isn’t good enough – in anything! If you want something, go after it, don’t just assume that it’s out of your control. Unless you want something that really is out of your control, like the moon. Set your goals high, and even if you don’t succeed, you’ll end up better off than everyone else.
Don’t quit when it gets tough – take it from Michael Acton Smith, entrepreneur, and the creator of Moshi Monsters. Listen to what he’s got to say: remarkable doesn’t quite cover it!
It’s a talking point: to be remarkable, you need to be remarked on, so think about how you’ll do this. What are your USPs? Do you go above and beyond the normal? Can you sponsor a local sports team? Be the business that people know because of what you do – not because of what you don’t.
Stories: make sure the stories circulating around your business are positive. Ensure that they’re about your great customer service, your wicked site, or your innovative designs. People will always tell stories, and they’re a main player when it comes to shaping a business – think about what you associate with brands like Coca-Cola, Fairtrade, and Nike, and learn from their mistakes and triumphs.
Simplicity and honesty: don’t over-complicate things. Be clear in what you stand for and what you do. Don’t try to hide things from your customers, and always be open to people’s opinions. People should be able to associate your business with one or two words, an image, or an idea, without having to think hard about it.
At MOO, we’re proud to have some really remarkable customers – from artists to entrepreneurs; they push the boundaries in all they do! One of our favourites is Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam, a jam making business he started at the age of 14! Listen to what Fraser has to say.
Be different: as a small business owner, you can’t fight the big-boys who have multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, but you can play a different game. Be unconventional, be real, and be different. You can’t fight fire with fire, but you can twist things up. Stay true to your promise and your passion, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and experiment with new ideas.
Take risks: similarly, don’t play it safe! If you want to be different, be spoken about, and be known, you need to take risks. It’s too easy to stay within your comfort zone, but often the best campaigns and ideas come when you take a huge leap outside. Be edgy, and people will respond. You’ve already taken a huge risk in starting your own business, so use that mind-set and push it to the edge.
People: your business is much more than logos, adverts, and letterheads: it’s the people who work underneath it, and want it to succeed. Even though this business is your baby, find likeminded people who will be just as passionate, believe in the same principles as you, and want the same things for the company. A team of staff who can live, eat, breathe, and sleep your idea will make a huge difference.
Have a voice: social media has opened up the relationship between consumer and provider to a whole new level. Companies can’t hide behind call centre anymore! If you want people to talk about you, you need to start the conversation! Start a blog and immerse it in your brand principles, and most importantly – be interesting. A brilliant writer can keep people on your site for hours longer than they intended, and even if they might not want your services at the time, if they’re constantly checking back to read about what you’re up to, they’ll be much more likely to keep you in mind for future opportunities.
Personality: if your business was a person, what would they be like? A remarkable company will come alive and take on a persona of its own – so make sure it’s a good one! Everything we’ve spoken about so far will help make your brand go 3D, but just like our brains filter through things we should and shouldn’t say – you need to make sure you’re on the ball. Don’t let anything get approved if it’s not completely on brand, and monitor what people are saying about you. See a recurring theme popping up online? Either revel in the praise, or think about what you can change.
Above all, think of your customers. Service with a smile is great, but you want to be remarkable, so bear it in mind in all you do, say, think, and offer.
Now that you’ve got a remarkable business, we’ll go onto the best ways to make sure everyone else knows it too, by going through the ins and outs of marketing on a tight budget, as well as the best (and worst) bits of blogging and the social-media-sphere!
So there you have it, being remarkable is all about going that extra mile and making your business the best it can be. But what does a truly remarkable business look like to you? Tweet us your tips (or your favourite remarkable brands) using #theMOOStartupKit