We love working with small businesses, developing marketing strategies and teaching owners how to use digital marketing tools to grow their brand and increase profits. It’s rewarding to see the hard work pay off.  We get excited about their wins and encourage them to step back and celebrate from time to time.

What about you? What happens when your business is on a roll and successes occur frequently? If you are like most business owners, you work yourself over-time to be sure things don’t veer off course. I don’t blame you. Every now and then it’s important to celebrate, record and share your wins.

Relax and Reflect

You’d be surprised how often small businesses glaze over some of their biggest accomplishments because they are laser-focused on the day in and day out operations. Stop! Your hard work and efforts are paying off. Take some time to review your history and path to success.

This information is important. Use it as a resource when you need to talk to bankers, pitch prospective customers or apply for recognition.

Start by building a quick cheat-sheet of your successes. Write down your responses:

  • How long has the small business existed? How many years has it been profitable?
  • How many employees did we start with and how many do we have today? How many do we plan to have in five years?
  • What is our most successful product/service? Have we improved on this model recently?
  • Have we gathered meaningful testimonials? Which ones truly reflect the quality of our services?
  • What’s something only we offer in our industry? What are we experts on in a way no one else is?
  • What was a scenario in which our services or products proved wildly successful for a client? How can we tell this story?

Using the Information

Here are ways to use the information once you build a robust list of successes:

Making Your Case

The modern consumer wants to know about your success stories, plain and simple. Customers are no longer after the best advertising sale or flashy offer- they want to know that your business is capable of delivering on its promises. Collecting success stories about your work with clients and use this information to build case studies.

At the Microsoft Lync Conference this year, all of the sessions including the keynote were delivered in the form of success stories. Shiela McGee-Smith of NoJitter recounts in this conference write-up how the most effective speakers used case studies explaining the effectiveness of the Microsoft Lync product at everything from disaster relief programs to entire hospital communication plans. Microsoft took the time to step back and talk about their success stories rather than hawk their product and make waves.

Apply for Recognition

Many industries and business communities recognize companies doing great things. While you might be aware of your positive growth, you have to reach out and make your successes known if you want to be recognized.

Here in Indianapolis, small businesses have great options when looking for recognition through awards and grants. I’m a big fan of TechPoint’s MIRA awards, celebrating Indiana’s best and brightest tech companies and start-ups. The process requires the  nominees to record their wins, describe their growth and tell their success stories.

The Indiana Small Business Development Center’s (ISBDC)  “Companies to Watch”, which is part of the national Edward Lowe Foundation program, focuses on how existing companies in a much wider range of industries are making an impact in our community.

We’re currently working with a client to create a succinct application for the ISBDC. It’s been a great experience for us to help them step back from the daily routine and really reflect on the elements of their business that have made them great.

Customers will be impressed

It takes time to compile your success stories, but it is worth the effort. Customers want to know they can trust your business. They want to know how you’ve been successful and how you’ve mastered your work. There is inherent value in authority and trust. You need to be cultivating those sentiments. The most powerful way to show value through success is by developing case studies and applying to achievement awards.

What’s your plan to get the news out about your wins? Take the time to sit back and reflect on what makes you successful. Write about it. Apply for recognition. It’ll be well worth the time.