What Small Business Can Learn from Tumblr’s Sale

Tumblr is often stereotyped as a haven for angsty teenage girls. And while there may be some truth behind this misconception, there is a whole lot more to this social networking site than the casual critic might expect. Just ask David Karp, the site’s 26-year-old founder. Following the well-publicized and much-criticized buyout of Tumblr by the continually struggling Yahoo, Karp is now worth more than $200 million.

The ability of a high school dropout like David Karp to succeed in business lends hope to budding entrepreneurs. But, like Karp, small business owners need to be savvy. In the aftermath of Tumblr’s success, small-scale entrepreneurs should keep the following lessons in mind:

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

It’s common for a beginning small business owner to shoot him or herself in the foot by immediately looking to capture the entire market. David Karp knew better. When he created Tumblr, Facebook had already been established as the go-to social networking site. Trying to go head-to-head with Facebook was clearly futile, as many failed social networking platforms had already discovered. But even a massive social media site such as Facebook is not all-encompassing, which is why Karp was able to carve out his own little niche with Tumblr.

The takeaway for small business owners? Find an area of demand that has not yet been filled and then create a unique product that will meet the needs of consumers. For Karp, this meant combining social networking with microblogging. For your business, it could be anything from unique logo design to a new take on gourmet cheese.

Who Needs An E?

In case you haven’t noticed, Tumblr is not spelled with an e between the l and r. This little distinction may drive grammar and spelling fanatics crazy, but it also helped to set the site apart. If you are trying to compete with what feels like a completely saturated market, you might just find that its the small things like the eliminated e ‘s that separate you from the competition.

Spend Wisely

Businesses can learn from Yahoo’s side of the equation, too. When former Google exec Marissa Mayer took over this Web-giant, she brought a new culture a new principles for growth. One theme became clear: It takes money to make money. Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr is a sign that it won’t sit idly by as other web titans evolve and grow. If your small business is stuck in the mud, perhaps its time to start boosting its value. Whether it’s a new type of advertising or upgraded technology, little investments will keep your business improving and growing.

The little things cost money, though, and when you’re trying to keep your business afloat, you may not have expendable capital. That’s where a little business savvy comes in handy. Small business credit cards by American Express offer capital to splurge on the little things. As you spend, you’ll earn business-friendly rewards, like airline miles, online advertising and car-rental discounts.

Connect With Like-Minded Businesses

In an age of hyper connectivity, Internet surfers want to effortlessly float from one website to the next. It would be tempting for a budding social networking site to isolate itself from the competition, but this impulse could end up backfiring. But because platforms such as Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter all fill slightly different niches, they have been able to come together to provide a better experience for all. The same principle can easily be applied to the small business owner. There is nothing wrong with fostering a sense of competition, but in some cases, you’ll actually benefit more from tempering that impulse and working with other businesses in your industry.

Stay Ahead Of The Curve

Change has always been the one constant, but in today’s technological environment, it comes at a faster pace than ever before. Companies unable to keep with the times are doomed to irrelevance. Conversely, businesses committed to forecasting trends and delivering innovative products give themselves a huge advantage. Tumblr proved this with its recent release of a Google Glass app. Although Google Glass is not yet on the general market, its inclusion on the social media platform has proven that Tumblr’s leaders are forward-thinking individuals. And that is a perception that today’s businesses definitely want to build among their targeted consumers.

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