The best way of ensuring that you go out of business - is to intend to build a small brand.
There is also very little point in trying to build a brand if your desire is to keep it small.
The whole point of spending time and money on building a reputation in the marketplace is to allow you to amplify your ability to sell to more, to more willing buyers. If you are purposefully intending to limit the number of buyers you have - then don't bother going through the hassle of growing a brand. BTW - also then perhaps recognise that you are enjoying a casual hobby, rather than building a viable business.
Small brands attract far fewer buyers than larger category players and they statistically are punished with lower-levels of customer loyalty, and because of this, struggle to open up beneficial economies of scale. As other new competitors enter the market and bigger players innovate, small brands eventually get squeezed out.
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No matter how much energy you put into your product, your story, your people, your entire existence...if you do not have a steadily growing customer base thanks to increasing levels of popularity, it's only a matter of time before your time runs out.
Nobody should ever set out to build and maintain a brand that isn't at least fighting for higher-levels of market dominance. Don't be fooled by the pervasive oversupply of romantically-charged entrepreneurial stories about purposefully building 'craft' brands. Show us one of those people and we'll show you a supporting trust fund; or a guaranteed failure waiting to happen in return.
90% of startups fail because they fail to develop a consistently growing stream of willing buyers. Period.
But how do you capture increasing numbers of buyers when you are competing with bigger, more aggressive and well-capitalised competitors?
The answer to that question is 'strategy'.
And for smaller brands who aspire to capture more marketshare, but who don't have the kind of marketing budgets that their big competitors have - that strategy needs to simply focus in on building awareness (that you exist in the category) and offering widespread easy access (to your brand and products) within tight constraints.
Your approach to doing just that needs to be very carefully considered if you are going to succeed. With the massive budgets of bigger competitors you're faced with tough tradeoffs that need to be carefully navigated. This is where a good strategy is key.
The goal is growth - more buyers, more revenue, more popularity.
It's inevitable for small brands to ultimately lose. If you have one goal for 2024 make sure that it is to grow, to get bigger, stronger, more competitive by finding a good strategy that is going to enable you to do that.
Go big...or die. It's a choice.