Entrepreneur, investor, and start-up expert John Rampton offered his thoughts on how small businesses and entrepreneurship are woven into the fabric of America, and why would-be business owners can’t balk in the face of the pandemic.
What is the top challenge facing small business owners today?
Besides finding a way to sustain themselves through the various lockdowns and restrictions, small business owners also face challenges related to how to digitally transform, how to find and reach their target customers online, and how to provide an experience that keeps those customers coming back through all economic cycles.
What’s your advice to small businesses looking for their “brand purpose”?
Your brand purpose should mirror what you can accomplish and solve for your target audience. Those are the pain points you are alleviating. Then, your brand will be aligned in people’s minds as the solution they need and value.
What would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur hesitant to take the risk of starting their own business?
If anything, now is the time to launch, especially if you have something that can help during such an unprecedented time. Consumers and businesses are both looking for products and services to help them navigate this “new normal” whether that be working remotely, shifting their businesses into a new channel, offering something that makes staying at home easier or more entertaining, or helping their kids with virtual learning. And there are investors right now looking to fund even during this pandemic. Don’t be afraid. Do your research and go for it.
What’s one aspect of doing business in America that is different from anywhere else in the world?
It’s so easy to start a business here with just a few bucks in your pocket. Our country encourages entrepreneurship and provides the structures and assistance to quickly launch.
What qualities do successful entrepreneurs have in common?
Successful entrepreneurs can see what others don’t, they embrace risk, and they have a passion to keep working until they accomplish their purpose to make a difference in others’ lives.
In your opinion, why are small businesses the backbone of the American economy?
It is what the country was founded on. We’ve been small business owners and entrepreneurs from the beginning of the country. It’s in our blood to set up shop and provide products or services. It continues today even with the online environment. Consumers still like shopping at local stores that offer personalized service and unique items.
What role have you seen social media play in the success of small businesses today?
Even before the pandemic, small businesses used social media to reach out to customers and their audiences with specials and connect in the way that many customers are now used to. They understood that they could provide customers with more content and information via social media. Then, when the pandemic struck, small businesses have been able to stay in touch with their customer bases and provide access to to-go orders and local delivery options. Many small business owners have even remained open thanks to customers sharing their information on social media.
Beyond money, what do you see as a measure of a successful business?
Success is also measured by how many people you can help and the degree of difference you can make in someone’s life, whether that is tackling a social problem or just being able to give people more time to relax and not work so hard.