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The Future of Local Businesses

Tags: collaboration, customer relationships, indie businesses

Authenticity and consistency. The future customer of your business will want authenticity and consistency in every experience they have with you. In return, you also get authentic and consistent customers. So it's a win-win. Because authentic relationships lead to trust and with trust comes loyalty and word of mouth. Word of mouth is and will be for a very long time the strongest form of endorsement to come visit your business.

I will learn about a new future local business through my social media or my social circle who learned it from their social media or their social circle. I will want to go there because it's an experience I will want to share on my social media or tell the important people in my life. I will also want to go there because their level of authenticity and consistency meets my expectations. And I want to go back and build a relationship with the people running the business. Maybe we can help each other because I am also running a small business.

Sometimes we might get lucky and spark that extra chemistry where real value is created. You know like when 2 + 2 > 4. When people are involved in a transaction where everyone wins.

Today the most globally appealing social media web is Instagram and the future is now.

While we can't measure word of mouth precisely, we can use attention as a proxy. Somebody visiting my business as a customer and actively sharing it to the public is sacrificing a lot of their attention. Attention is a finite resource and there's only so much information we can absorb every day. Attention is today's currency and more and more of it is spent on Instagram.

Businesses doing really well on Instagram today are businesses offering an experience worth sharing on Instagram. They are telling an authentic story and their customers are repeating their story on their behalf.

We can thus take a rough guesstimate at attention using reach, engagement and frequency over a period of time. This is measured relatively to the total attention span available over the same period of time. If it's trending upwards, it means your relative share of attention is growing over time. In a sense, this is relative to people thinking and talking about your story and your business which correlates with your sales: the more people are paying attention to your business, the greater the likelihood some of them will convert into becoming repeat or first-time customers.

You can directly influence this number by actively sharing through your own account and incentivizing your customers to share - either through offering monetary incentives such as discounts, offers, money or by providing a memorable experience your customers will want to share.

The main goal of the owner of a future local business is to be an inspiration to her customers and to let them spread her story.

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