Websticker is celebrating its 30th year in business. Recent estimates show 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and 70% fail within ten years. With gratitude for their success, Jeff and Chris share some insights that helped them beat the odds.
1) Love What You Do. Find Your Niche and Become the Expert(s)
30 years ago, Websticker was the only company focused exclusively on custom stickers used as promotional tools. In some ways it still is. According to Nicholson, “We knew that for our company to succeed we needed our customers to succeed. To give them more than expected. We need to continually prove the power of the sticker medium, be “true believers” in their value, and work hard and have fun getting that message out.”
Through blogging, articles, speaking and networking, anyone can now become an “expert” in their market or niche. Share your opinions and knowledge and help others succeed – eventually you become the one to call. It’s all about building trust. Nicholson further established his expertise with his book, “Stick This! Using Promotional Stickers to Build Identity, Create Word-of-Mouth and Grow Sales”.
2) Establish Your Company’s Core Values, Mission and Identity
Don’t try be everything to everyone. Effectively communicate who you are and want to be to your employees and your customers. What do you stand for? What makes you unique? What makes you better? This isn’t a static exercise, circumstances change – you will need to revisit, adjust, test, and at times completely adjust your identity and plans.
Nicholson adds, “Creating a successful business is much like creating an effective promotional sticker… It needs to have a clear and focused message. It needs to be unique and something worth talking about. It needs to resonate within a market to build up customers, insiders and fans. And, it needs to stick!”
3) Solid Plans, Guts, and Money
Create a solid plan for each stage of growth. No plan is set in stone and no one is immune from the rapid changes happening in business and society. The reason most businesses fail is lack of capital to get through the formative years. In the early years of Websticker the founders worked second jobs while fine tuning their offerings and plans. At some point the business simply needs to earn more money than it spends.
Be ready for the unexpected and learn from mistakes. Nicholson points out, “In year five our office burned to the ground, fifteen years into the business the economy tanked, and we all know what happened in 2020. Keep a financial cushion, back up plans, and be prepared to pivot when necessary.”
4) Commit to Customer Service
Customer service is a core value of Websticker. With 5-star customer ratings and a high rate of repeat business they have been able to successfully weather tough times and increased competition. According to Chris DeRienzo, “Over time we have built strong relationships and a reputation for quality products and service. A focus on exceptional customer service and building relationships will reward any business over the long term.”
5) Surround Yourself with a Stellar Team
Surround yourself with a topnotch team and keep them excited and happy. This circles back to loving what you do and having a clear identity. Websticker employees enjoy good benefits and a healthy, respectful, fun work atmosphere. DeRienzo adds, “The team doesn’t stop with employees. We work only with outstanding suppliers and partners who share similar values.”