Say, do you know the Cupcake Truck?
Do you own a small business? Depending on the industry, the SBA defines small business as an organization with maximum sales of about $20 million, and up to about 500 employees. WOW. That is NOT what I call small business. When I think of a small business, I think of a small retail store with about 5 employees, a lawn care business with two or three trucks, or a dental office with a staff of 6. A micro business on the other hand, is a business with less than 5 or 10 employees (again, there is debate depending on who you talk to). Micro business is what most people think of when they hear the words "small business."
There are a lot of differences between a small business and a micro business based on these definitions. Do you own a micro business? If you do, you are in the majority. Roughly 80 percent of all businesses in the U.S. have fewer that 10 employees. That is a LARGE percentage. In reality, it is much different to run a micro business than to run an average size "Small Business." But, if you own a micro business, you might understand some of the challenges it takes to run and grow. Now more than ever, it takes creativity and innovation to thrive and excel.
One company in Denver that has been highly creative and innovative is a company named Cake Crumbs, a bakery located in the Park Hill neighborhood. You may not know of this company, but if you've heard of The Denver Cupcake Truck, you know of them. While Sean and Denon Moore had been experiencing healthy growth with their micro business, a conversation with their accountant helped them to realize their marketing costs were way out of whack; they needed to make a change. So they decided to buy a truck and bring their cupcakes - a small taste of their main product to the masses, figuring that it would increase exposure for the bakery, and drive more business.
The effect of adding the truck was amazing. Not only did it work to get the word out about their cake shop, but it increased revenue by creating a new avenue to sell their product. On the marketing side, they received a ton of PR for their unique truck and the buzz that it created when they pulled up to the curb and started selling tasty little treats. If you live in Denver, the chances are, you've heard of the Denver Cupcake Truck, and maybe you've even enjoyed a cupcake.
Through the use of social media, an elusive marketing strategy for most businesses, Cake Crumbs was able to create community on Facebook and Twitter around their new venture. Clementine, the truck, has been a fun tool to engage their audience and put personality into a traditionally mundane business. To promote participation, fans actually helped name the truck. And now, once a day, followers are asked for their guess as to what the flavor of the day might be. From these suggestions, Sean and Denon are able to identify the most popular cupcake flavors without asking: "Hey what flavors do want us to stock on the truck?" Another critical feature they are able to capitalize on each day is the ability to communicate with their fans and loyal followers to announce each day's new location. Since they are selling out of a mobile truck, the location is constantly changing.
So, lower marketing costs and sales are up: a business owner's dream, no matter what size you are. You can find more information about Cake Crumbs Bakery and The Denver Cupcake Truck at www.cake-crumbs.com. If you would like to go see them, you can either follow them at their Facebook page to visit with Clementine, or you can go to their main location at 2216 Kearney Street in Denver.
But what does this mean for you? How is your micro business being innovative and creative? What can you capitalize on? It is not an easy question to answer, but if you can, the rewards are sweet. Be innovative and stand out from the masses. These are the micro businesses best weapons.
Nick May has been a micro business owner for over 15 years. Starting a residential paint company as his first business in college, he now runs a small business consulting firm called SEEDS, and can be heard every Saturday morning on AM560 KLZ. His radio show called Small Business Naked focuses on small business success, and with co-host Johnny Erbert they talk with successful entrepreneurs from Colorado and across the country. You can find more information about Nick and Small Business Naked at www.smallbusinessnaked.com.