Small Biz Insider is a digital series from the Greater Houston Partnership, where we highlight the innovative business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders of the greater Houston area making a big impact in the small business community.
On this edition of Small Biz Insider, Richard’s Rainwater CEO Taylor O’Neil shares what he learned from growing and expanding his company, which bottles rainwater in still and sparkling varieties. You can also listen to his interview on the Small Biz Insider podcast here.
Here are 5 takeaways for small business owners from our conversation with Taylor O’Neil:
To stand out, differentiate your product from others in a crowded marketplace.
Find a product or service that is truly unique, or that’s going to be difficult to replicate. Explore the opportunity for partnerships that allow you to have a closed loop system, where you can source the packaging materials and the product, hire the people, create the product and sell all within one area.
Make your brand eye-catching.
Your package is the first thing a customer sees when they’re walking down the store aisle. O’Neil said for them, it was increasingly important for the package to tell their story and be attractive enough that people would want to take pictures and share them on social media.
Build a loyal customer base.
O’Neil said small business owners quickly learn who their customers truly are when they get out there and start talking to them. “You want the passion you have for your business to translate to your customers,” said O’Neil. “There’s nothing more powerful than customers being so impressed with your product, they share your story with others. “
Find the right investors on the front end.
This is a key relationship that should be mutually beneficial. Small business owners need a great team in order to be successful. And to pay a great team, owners need good capital to start with. Look for those investors before you start your business, not during a dip or time of weakness. Great partners will help take your business to places you’d never be able to go on your own as an entrepreneur.
Examine growth strategies.
Start by identifying new customers, and then find ways to attract those customers and how you’ll fulfill those new customer needs. Small business owners should always be thinking about ways to distribute their product and create more direct customer interactions to find out what they need and what they like about the product.
You can find our other Small Biz Insider podcast, videos and other small business resources here.