What works best for small businesses? Consistency or evolution?
Imagine if you will, that a new restaurant has opened in town. You’ve passed it several times, you’ve heard them advertise on the local radio station, seen them in the local newspaper, spotted flyers around town. It looks inviting, it looks like the kind of restaurant you would enjoy.
You book a table, and it does indeed meet your expectations. The setting is sumptuous, the staff are attentive, the food is divine. Yes, you’ll most definitely be coming back here again!
You know the restaurant is great, you know it serves food that you love. Nevertheless, if you go back on several occasions, over several months, and the menu never alters there will come a time when no matter how sumptuous the surroundings, how attentive the staff, how divine the food your palate will become bored.
On the other hand, if you each time you return to the restaurant the food is a completely different style, you won’t know quite where you stand. If you never know what type of food will be on offer, you can’t be sure there will be anything on the menu that you do like.
The line between consistency and evolution is a fine one.
It is paramount for all businesses to have consistency – you can’t keep changing your name or your logo every few weeks. Your business should have the same images, the same slogans or taglines across all mediums; printed literature and advertisements, sign written vehicles,Â your website and your social media all need to look the same.
All businesses have their own unique culture – you may sell the same product or service as 10 other small businesses in town, but you are not the same businesses. Whilst external rules are universally applicable, how your company operates internally will always differ from other companies because of you, your fellow business partners and your staff. If you are taking on new members they don’t just have to fit the bill for the job specs, they need to be able to fit in as part of the team, as part of your companies’ culture.
Businesses need to be consistent. Where does that leave business evolution?
When did you last update your website? If it was more than two years ago you haven’t achieved consistency, you have reached stagnation. The fact that the internet and the search engines are constantly changing leaves your two year old website not only looking dated but probably slipping off the search engine pages.
When did you last update your LinkedIn profile? If you set it up several years ago and haven’t changed anything since it’s time to pop by and have another look. LinkedIn will only work for you if you put some work into LinkedIn.
When did you last look at your business Twitter profile by actually logging into Twitter.com? If it’s been a while may I suggest you do so – today? So many Twitter accounts are missing elements because the account holders haven’t realised that there have been updates – and their business accounts now look, well, less than professional.
Your blog posts need to be consistent – there’s little point in putting out one a day for two weeks and then nothing for months. And the content needs to consistently reflect your companies’ culture, ethics, products and services. But this still leaves room for evolution. I have been consistently blogging for years, but if I look back to my first efforts, my how I’ve changed. (If you’ve nothing better to do digging around on our site will lead you to those early days – I will cringe, you will smirk).
As a small business you have to have consistency – it helps to establish trust, brand awareness, and confidence. But being consistent doesn’t negate evolution. As technology continues its relentless march forwards your business needs to keep pace, and that means evolving with the times. Otherwise your consistency will leave you stuck in the mud and looking like a bit of a dinosaur – and we know what happened to them…..