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Tips & Talk 106 – A Different Way to Look at Your Competition
15th March 2023 • Gift Biz Unwrapped • Sue Monhait
00:00:00 00:09:14

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Competition is not something you need to fear. There are actually advantages to being in a well-known and established industry. I explain why and how to look at your competition differently. The emotion and feeling of discomfort comes up when you don’t have a plan to tackle competitive situations. Here’s why competition is a good thing and what you can do to be the star when in the midst of all the others.

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Transcripts

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Hi there.

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It's Sue and thanks for joining me for Tips and Talk

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Day. These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions

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and things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small

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business. If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DM e over on Instagram at Gift Biz Unwrapped,

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before I get into the show today,

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I have a message for you.

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If you're just now starting to think of starting a handmade

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product business,

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at this point,

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you may be thinking about your business name and logo.

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That's what would be natural and what most people would do,

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but hold on a second.

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It's not the best initial step.

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There are other important things to do first to make sure

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you're set up for success and ensure your product easily attracts

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buyers. Sometimes it's just a little tweak.

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That's the difference between a thriving and failing business.

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Before you spend a lot of time and money,

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make sure to validate your product and ensure it's positioned and

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priced so you'll see results right from the beginning.

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That way you can start your business with confidence.

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I can help you with that.

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Go to gift biz unwrap.com/start

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for all the details.

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At first thought,

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having a product that's in a league of its own with

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absolutely zero competition sounds fabulous,

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doesn't it?

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I mean,

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you're not competing against anyone else,

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so all the sales will come your way.

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That's the thinking anyway.

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I can tell you from experience,

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having a product that has barely any or no competitors isn't

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all it's cracked up to be.

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The majority of the time I spent in corporate was with

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a company you would've never recognized by name.

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We provided a service that allowed retailers to target their advertising

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pieces, to specific household demographics through direct mail,

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but not at the cost of high priced single mailings and

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buying questionable quality mailing lists.

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Our service was a brand new concept that proved very successful

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in the long run,

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but was extremely difficult when it was starting out.

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It was hard to get appointments to talk about our services.

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There was no brand recognition and we were up against all

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the large reputable newspapers and television networks in the country.

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Definitely the underdog.

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It took an unbelievable amount of time and energy to build

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credibility and get people to agree to test our program,

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but once we got a foothold,

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things would go quickly from there.

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Yet we always battled for business with known and traditional advertising

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methods. Secretly,

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I'll tell you that I was always a little jealous at

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social events when we'd talk about where we worked and my

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dear friend Debbie would say,

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IBM, instant respect from others.

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For me,

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it took a lot more explanation and honestly,

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most never really got it.

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I'm not complaining though.

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My 15 years in corporate paid off well financially in knowledge

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and experience and personal fulfillment because I loved my job all

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the way up until I decided to leave,

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so you'd think I'd learned my lesson.

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Yet, a few years later,

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I entered into a similar situation this time with my own

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business, the Ribbon Print Company.

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You've probably heard some of the promos for it here on

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the podcast.

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We provide systems so that small businesses like yours can custom

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print on ribbon right in your own production studio or at

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retail checkout.

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I won't go into detail about it here,

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but it's not commonly known that this possibility exists.

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People find us every day online and tell us they had

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no idea about this potential capability.

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The Ribbon Print Company is a strong and thriving business,

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yet still largely unknown,

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and we have literally only a handful of competitors worldwide.

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Sounds great,

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right? Yes and no.

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We definitely have a specialty niche but have to work really

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hard to get our name and the value of what we

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offer out there.

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Trade shows are the best way to accomplish this.

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That's actually a lot of fun because our booth is always

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humming with people wanting to see their name company or logo

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on a ribbon.

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You've heard me say before,

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it's my favorite part of the business,

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but it's costly,

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time consuming,

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and again,

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a lot of work.

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I already said,

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people find us online.

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That's true,

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but it's not like anyone thinks,

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oh, I'll Google custom ribbon printing machines.

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They need to know something about it first for us to

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even have a chance of being found through a search.

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I tell you all this so you know that I know

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what I'm talking about when I talk about living in a

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world with little competition,

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and it's not all you might think.

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Luckily with your products,

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that's probably not the case.

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People can relate when you tell them,

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even in general terms what you make.

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You design and sell jewelry,

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create custom ceramic pieces or make wedding cakes personalized by flavors

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and style.

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People have a general understanding of your product,

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and from there you can detail how yours are different and

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special. That's one of the values of having competition.

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There's a base knowledge that people can relate to if they're

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in need or want.

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What you make the potential of a sale is already under

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consideration, not so when your product product is unknown.

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In that case,

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you have to explain and validate its use first.

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That's a whole extra step in the sales cycle.

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Lucky you when this isn't the case,

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but you still wanna stand out and be recognized as special

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when considered amongst all other businesses that make generally the same

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thing that you do.

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There's no magic formula to this.

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It only takes strategy and implementation to create a unique twist

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to your products that spark excitement and interest.

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What types of things can you do to make you your

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business and your product unique?

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Here are some ideas.

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One, create a special element to your product that's different from

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others. Think of papyrus cards that include a hummingbird sticker in

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each one,

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or Ashley Kincaid s idea of adding a piece of jewelry

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into each of her bath bombs.

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You can hear her story on episode 4 0 9.

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Second idea is to create a signature product that your business

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becomes known for.

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Three, add something into your product that's selective.

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For example,

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is only grown in your available region.

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This is what Katie Leaky did with her Zulu Grass necklaces.

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That's an episode number 49 4.

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Are you connected with a cause where each sale or a

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portion of your overall proceeds goes to support something that you

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care about?

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Like Jennifer of Marni and Michael,

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episode 360,

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or Marjorie with Little Rebels,

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episode 398.

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Idea number five,

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utilize a pattern or color that has meaning attached to it

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and makes your brand easily recognizable.

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Six, provide a unique customer experience different from what others do

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that has an impact on your customers.

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This can be done in your packaging.

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Loyalty programs,

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social media groups.

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Let your imagination go here,

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and seven,

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my all time favorite.

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Make sure you allow customers an opportunity to know you.

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When they know you and feel connected with you,

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they're more likely to continue to support you and tell others

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about you.

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Check out tips and talk.

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Episode number 105,

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which goes into more about this competition,

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is not something you need to fear.

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This emotion and feeling of discomfort comes up when you don't

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have a plan to tackle competitive situations.

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I've just gone through why competition is a good thing.

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Now it's time for you to make sure you have things

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in place to attract attention and be the star when in

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the midst of all the others.

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That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl,

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and this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn.

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Go out and fulfill that dream of yours.

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Share your handmade products with us.

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We want them and they bring us both.