According to its definition, small means, well, “1. of a size that is less than normal or usual; 2. insignificant, unimportant.” That definition, I believe, has some room for improvement in today’s environment.
Our feature in this month’s issue focuses on small space living trends, which, while indicative of a size that is less than usual, have created some big opportunities for those retailers, designers and home furnishings companies that have anticipated and responded to growing consumer preferences for living with less square footage.
There are downsizing Baby Boomers, Millennials who aren’t looking for their parents’ sprawling suburban homes, a growing urban population… the list goes on.
Fortunately, home furnishings players ahead of this curve are already addressing this niche in a big way with creative solutions to help consumers live large with less space. Many consumers have realized that less space isn’t a negative if that space is well planned.
All of this “small” talk got me thinking about the benefits of small in more than just housing. Done right, small in business, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean less. Instead, it allows for the ability to adapt and differentiate more quickly, and that has an upside. As independent retailers and interior designers, you likely fall into this category. There are unique challenges, of course, but there are advantages as well.
You have the ability to create a more personal connection with your customer and pay real-time attention to their needs. You also have the agility to get ahead of a trend curve because, if you’re listening to those customers, you’ve seen it coming. Not only can you offer the products and design your customers need to successfully make their lifestyle changes, you become the advisor who helps them through. Transition can be scary, and having anticipated their needs, you can help minimize anxiety. You can fete out the products needed to deliver solutions. You can help with placement, scale, functionality and design. The end result is a space your clients are proud of, and a stronger connection based on trust. When your customers trust you, they spread the word, and that can be a huge advantage.
In this month’s issue, we also highlight Lavish, an interior design/retail business, in Raleigh, NC. Designer/Owner Jenny Cimino understands the benefit of connection with her clients and focuses her marketing efforts on providing them with memorable experiences they’ll share. Hers is a successful small business that has a big impact on her clients.
The next time you consider the challenges of being small, focus on how to leverage the difference that can have at the client level. The payoff will be anything but small.