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The UPS Store blog
  • 19 October 2020
  • Public Relations

How to Build a Successful Small Business

Co-owners Nichole and Kristian built Limited to One Record Store on a lifelong love of music and finding the perfect vinyl. After years of shopping both locally and internationally, Nichole and Kristian knew what they liked and disliked about their experiences. They wanted to create a small business that was different from any other they had personally visited.

Limited to One storefront

Kristian and Nichole shared four tips with us as part of our small business advice series:

1. Create something unique.

In the digital age, Nichole and Kristian stepped outside the usual retail store model. Although social media was important to their small business, they built Limited to One as a traveler’s destination and prioritized in-person interactions. “We wanted people traveling to New York City to say, ‘We can't wait to visit your shop,’” Kristian explained. Adding that unique element set Limited to One apart from the beginning.

2. Build on your experiences.

Having visited record shops across the globe, Nichole and Kristian knew the standard setup and made changes within Limited to One that they personally wished to see. They adjusted the vinyl bin heights, so shorter customers could browse with ease; they created a labeling system with quick reference notes for collectors; and they kept the shop simple and clean for shoppers browsing on their lunch breaks. “We just wanted to take our list of issues, whether it be digging in moldy crates or searching for hours and not finding something, and do something a little bit different,” Nichole said.

3. Connect with customers.

“There was a shop in New York years ago that used to know my name and when I walked in, they would have a bunch of records they knew I would love,” Kristian recalled of an experience that shaped how he and Nichole run their shop today. Personally being there to curate records for customers and make individualized music recommendations is a large portion of Kristian and Nichole’s business. To make those suggestions, the co-owners need to connect with customers. Being friendly and knowledgeable, and making an effort to remember your patron’s names and tastes can go a long way.

4. Be willing to pivot and change.

The small business landscape is constantly shifting. Despite making their shop a destination, rather than selling online, Kristian and Nichole knew when it was time to pivot. “In response to COVID-19, we started a Patreon subscription service,” Nichole said of her and Kristian’s decision to take Limited to One’s personalized curation online. They also started doing mail order and selling records on Instagram so Kristian could reply to each buyer individually. These decisions were lifesavers, the co-owners agreed.

Of that decision, Nichole said, “It was really important for us to not lose sight of who we were as a small company and understand that we need to grow and adapt, but we can grow and adapt in a way that stays true to our original vision.”

Creating a unique shopping experience and staying true to your original vision can help small businesses be successful - even when adapting to changes.

Check back soon and follow us on social media for more small business advice! 

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