Small business owners: embrace your creative freedom!

Here, I outline why you as a small business owner have more creative freedom than a corporate, even without the big budget.

I love small businesses. They’re the quiet souls being trampled by big brands who are forever shouting about themselves.

It’s worth getting to know them because smaller companies have more character and quirk. They can have more fun with their brand personality as they’re not held back by the pesky barriers that come with being a corporate.

I was reminded of this recently when I went to a French restaurant with novel ways of engaging its diners, even after the bill has been paid.

Using the pencils on your table, you’re challenged to draw something on the paper tablecloth, take a picture, upload it to the restaurant’s Facebook or Twitter page to be in with a chance of winning a bottle of champagne.

Creative competition at French restaurant

What’s more, you’re given a packet of two Viennese whirls when you leave, with a label entitling you to a free glass of kirs on your (hopeful) return.

Another cracker I’ve seen is in a pretzel café where you can answer a daily general knowledge question to earn an extra loyalty stamp.

These examples show that a limit on your budget doesn’t need to impose a limit on your creativity. Your lack of cash may even lead you to more innovative ideas. Here’s why.

You can make your own decisions – fast

Unlike a mega corporate, you don’t have to spend months getting your ideas approved by several higher-ups in other departments.

The speed of decision-making means that a little company could try an idea before anyone else.

So, if you want to give an idea a bash (within reason, of course), go for it.

You can be more creative without a formal creative team

On a similar note, a corporate creative team is more stifled by pleasing the masses than a smaller business is. You can focus on tailoring your brand personality and marketing to the tastes of your audience.

This means that you can be more experimental – have fun with it!

As small businesses have a more intimate connection with their audience, relying more heavily on word of mouth, user-generated content is hugely effective on social platforms. The smaller audience size – and level of responses – makes it easier to manage.

“You can be more experimental – have fun with it!”

On top of that, the whole business could potentially get involved! Grab people from sales, tech, finance and more to offer some ideas. It’ll help them to feel more involved in the company.

Your marketing doesn’t have to be super slick

Unlike the highly-Photoshopped billboard and print ads from a large company, you can get away with something much simpler. In fact, it’ll add to the friendly, personable image of your brand.

You never know, a scrawl on a chalkboard could win you major praise on social media.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.