YELP Archives - Alliance to Save the American Dream

What makes a small business stand out, according to YELP.

July 20, 2023 - Emeka Anammah

With more than 5 million businesses rated and reviewed, Yelp knows a thing or two about small businesses.  They have watched many small businesses come and go, noticing trends in what works and what doesn’t. In the latest issue of Entrepreneur, Yelp’s small business expert, Emily Washcovick, shared some insights on the principal factor that makes small businesses stand out from the competition. Washcovick has worked with hundreds of small businesses, navigating changing markets and competition to ultimately ensure success. From all her work with small businesses, she has found the most vital piece of the puzzle of success is communicating to the consumers who is behind the business, and the story of why the business is running. 

It should be obvious to most that people are more reflective than ever. People no longer give a second look to ‘salesly’ marketing schemes and promotions. Consumers want to know how a brand personally impacts them, and the alignment of their values. A 2022 survey from Lending Tree revealed that 1 in 4 Americans boycotted a product or company due to either a political or social misalignment. This shows that many are looking at the faces and ethos behind the company, not simply what they are paying for in the store. Washcovick explains that the strongest story told to your consumers will help them understand why you’re doing what you do, and how they can be a part of it. This helps build trust among customers, as well as loyalty that will establish longevity for small businesses. 

So how is this put into practice? This can be overwhelming at first glance, however, one needs only work backward. Figuring out your niche is a good place to start, and then the original reason for addressing this niche. There is likely a personal story that can be unearthed from this process, which is even better. They want to feel they are adding value to the world by supporting your business, and are actively looking for companies with a mission and branding to get behind. Yelp has insights on consumers searching for things such as ‘minority-owned businesses,’ or ‘sustainable fashion,’ which further indicates the desire of consumers to make an impact with their investment. After figuring out your ‘why,’ you must humanize your business in your messaging to your audience.  This includes the content made for socials, email, physical store print (if this applies to your business), and your website. Ensure your messaging has a general or specific link to the reason your business exists, and not simply a sale.

You know the reason why you decided to create your business. The reason why you undergo the late nights and early mornings, and stay the course despite the stress and crippling self-doubt. Your customers want to know this reason as well. Tell them.

Here at the Alliance to Save the American Dream, we want your business not to simply survive but thrive. To go from simply a transactional entity to a provider of value. We’ve done the research, so all you need to do is put these into practice!

Check out our other content on our page for more information on how you can take your business to the next level!

The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.

1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.

2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.

3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories. For more information, visit


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