ASKED & ANSWERED is Vistaprint’s small business advice column – each week, experts answer questions from small business owners like you. Today, brand strategist Olivia Christian tackles your questions about standing out and staying motivated.
Remembering your ‘why’
“Your story is what differentiates you from your competitors.”
Olivia Christian is a brand strategist and workshop lead – her ‘Own Your Story’ workshop has helped thousands of entrepreneurs share their small business stories.
As a Brand Partner at Vistaprint, we’ve asked her to share some of her best advice to recent branding questions.
You asked. Olivia answered.
I dealt with bad skin for years. I tried a ton of products but eventually made my own home remedy. I’m curious about formally launching a clean, organic skincare line of my own but there are already so many out there.
How do I stand out?
In addition to watching the Verzuz battles on social this summer, I was mildly entertained by the lengths people went through to get their hands on a spicy chicken sandwich. The spicy chicken sandwich battles of 2020 had people from across the country getting in their cars and waiting for hours in drive-thru lines all for the chance to get a taste, as well as some Instagram content, of some spicy goodness.
While the long lines have subsided, the spicy chicken sandwich battles continue! Popeye’s, Chick-Fil-A, KFC, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box…the list of fast food venues creating their own special blend of herbs and spices and promoting it as the ultimate in fried poultry is a lesson for entrepreneurs everywhere: there is more than one kind of spicy chicken sandwich. Do. You; Create your brand and speak to your customer.
Yes, it’s important to understand your competition. It’s also important to study things like trends and market share. But don’t let the fact that somebody’s already doing it keep you from launching your product or service. Tell potential customers what makes you spicy (I mean different!), share the reasons you created your product or service despite existing competitors, and explain what makes you different.
This is how you separate yourself from the pack. That and a signature dipping sauce!
How do you tell your small business story? Whether through social media or an email newsletter, your story is what makes you unique. Share it with customers to reinforce your brand image, boost brand loyalty, and remind people that there’s a passionate person behind your business.
I love what I do but I hate all the technical, back-end stuff. I feel like it’s sucking the fun out of what I love to create.
How do I stay motivated?
More often than not, being a small business owner is Stress.Ful. (sic)
Reminding yourself of why you got into the business of running your own business is a must to staying inspired, hopeful, and focused on the end result, which is the impact you aim to make on the lives of your clients.
Your WHY is what will fuel you. Your WHY is what will sustain you during the difficult times that you (and every entrepreneur) will inevitably go through.
Yes, I know, that all sounds like rainbows and inspirational hashtags and that’s ‘cause it is…but it’s also true! When you take time to reflect on what you’ve already accomplished – your first sale, first customer, first testimonial, and all the people that have supported you along the way – you’ll remember why you started in the first place.
What you’re creating is 100% important. Duh. But why you are the one creating it is what will keep you motivated. And it has the added bonus of distinguishing you from your competitors. Your perspective, your spin, your take on the spicy chicken sandwich (see above)…that’s all there is.
Remember it. Write it down. Take a picture.
You can’t expect to do *everything.* If you’re struggling with coding a website, filing taxes, or designing a logo, find someone to help…so you can focus on what you’re passionate about. P.S. If you need assistance with design or web services, we can help!