It’s tough to get a business going, and once it’s going to keep it going. It’s very easy to just be in your own bubble, thinking you have to fight everyone else every step of the way. Camaraderie would be a weakness, a threat to sales, something to be avoided.
There is a different way.
You could leave all that aggressive dog eat dog stuff to the Unilevers and Tescos of the world, and be really generous to your fellow smaller business owners. Share the love, so to speak.
Before you dismiss it as hippy claptrap, or something similar, I wanted to share an exchange on Twitter recently.
So what’s so great about this?
What I love about this is that there’s very little about Lilliput Dorset Gin, and as much about the store, and the featured photograph. The tweet highlighted a competitor product, and another two appeared in the photo.
Not even just in the premium gin sector.
They are all premium gins from Dorset.
You couldn’t really get closer competitors.
And yet Lilliput Dorset Gin chose to celebrate the success of a close competitor. They didn’t try to flag why they were better, or rubbish the other product. They didn’t (wisely) berate Dike & Son for not getting them on shelf already.
They just shared someone else’s good news.
Which I felt should be celebrated, so shared the tweet with my own view.
What does camaraderie have to do with content?
My point is that camaraderie should be celebrated and that there is room for everyone, if everyone is different, has their own story. Take the stories of these four:
- Lilliput focus their story around themes of quality, clarity and escape, mainly to the Dorset landscape.
- Fordington Gin says it is inspired by “the playful mystery of absinthe”.
- Conker Spirit Dry Gin talks a lot about being the first gin distillery in Dorset, producing a “brazenly refreshing and deftly smooth” spirit.
- Pothecary Gin plays down the Dorset connection and focuses on British, as well as organic and foraged ingredients.
Four gins, created and distilled within a few miles of each other, but that could not be more different. They could all take exactly the same title for a piece of content and their take on it would be completely different.
Of course they are all competing for the same customer, if you only say the target customer is a gin buyer. But there’ll be different kinds of gin buyers, who value different things, so different kinds of stories will get different kinds of people.
Or the same people on different days.
Or even the same person on the same day if they really love their gin. Though that may just be me.
What should I do with this? Love all my neighbours?
Why not? I believe you reap what you sow. This example might make me feel more positive about choosing Lilliput next time I need a bottle of gin (about a week on Thursday).
It might make Dike & Son get on with listing Lilliput in their store. They might do it just because it’s an incredible product. But they might also spot that Lilliput are going to draw attention to the premium gin sector as a whole. Which might benefit their sales. And if they featured an offer they weren’t even part of, imagine what they might do when they are?
It might make the three other brand owners (who I would imagine probably know each other, Dorset is not that big a county) feel a bit thankful. There might be a bit of “cheers, mate” going on. And equally it might just be a bit of currency in case of need in the future. Like if you ran out of juniper, and needed to borrow a cupful.
Leave big business to slug it out with each other. Small businesses thrive best in my view when they celebrate all the world around them, all the people who make up their community and when they show some true camaraderie. If you’re clear on your story, your position, then there really is room for everyone.
Which means you can actively share other people’s success, their story, their content, as long as it has some kind of relevance or interest for your target customer. Always keep your customer in mind, what will they take from the content you share? What will it say about your business?
Not everyone will return the favour by sharing your stuff. Be generous in your thanks if they do. Above all be authentic to your own story. And I guarantee, in the end, it will be about you.