3 Make Or Break Factors For Your Small Business

If you’re starting a small business with a customer service element to it, then you already know: there are more balls to juggle than you can keep track of. In big cities, where competition is fierce, it’s important to stand out from similar businesses, so whether you’re an independent espresso bar, dry cleaner or yoga studio, you need to do whatever you can to distinguish yourself from the competition. In this post, we’ll look a three key areas where you can get an edge on the other guys.

For better or worse, we live in a time dominated by discount superstores like Walmart and massive online retailers like Amazon. People are less inclined than ever to choose the little guy, and that’s a shame. Patronizing independent businesses has an intimate feel to it, it lets you get to know your neighbours and have a unique experience that can often put you in a good mood. The lack of customer service – or any thoughtful details – is missing from most modern shopping experiences, and while some would argue that the price tag is the bottom line, there’s also a case to be made for that personal touch.

Fortunately, since many fringe neighbourhoods in large cities are experiencing a boom in the demand for quality coffee, food and competent yoga instruction, there is still a strong market for those who are trying to do something a little different. Depending on what kind of business you run, there’s plenty of room to infuse your own vision and personality into the experience to keep clients coming back. Here are our three make or break factors for your small business.    

Branding and Marketing

This one may seem obvious, but at a local level, there are a few little tricks that can be extremely helpful. First off, in the digital media department, you could get a little creative with Instagram stories and blog posts to show customers your artistic side and tell a story about why your profession is important to you. Hopefully, your business has a snappy name and a cool logo design that people will remember – you could even get custom sweaters and hoodies made to sell to clients who want to rep their favourite local bakery! That’s good business and free promotion.  


This may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. As a new business owner, you may be tempted to close early when it’s slow. Don’t. If you want to start out with limited hours, that’s fine, but if even one customer shows up within posted business hours and the door is locked, they will feel frustrated and tell their friends. So honour your business hours and have faith. These things take time.



Hiring the right staff is perhaps the biggest make or break factor for a small business. These are the people that your clients are going to be dealing with on a day-to-day basis, and if they have a bad experience, they might never come back. A good trick for finding the right fit is to focus on personality over experience; if a staff member is going to create a good atmosphere and be a team player, it’s worth it to train them up from scratch. Someone else could have all the experience in the world, but if they have a bad attitude it will scare away customers forever, no matter how good their latté art is.  

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.