Separate Your New Business From The Pack

You got talent…heck everybody says so.  The whole neighborhood loves the cupcakes you bake.  Was it you that did the flower arrangements at the wedding?  You are just so creative.   Hey Mr. Inventor, you should get a patent.  The mouse trap you invented that glows in the dark is ingenious.

Friends and family all say you should start a business. You got the time; you have some money socked away. Come on let’s do it.  “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day of your life.” Yea right!

The problem is that there are a zillion other talented people with your skill set.  Many have been in the business you excel at for years. They have seasoned contractors, well-oiled logistical support and they have a large and loyal clientele.  How do you separate yourself from the pack…why should people buy your goods and services?

Begin with due diligence. Find out who your competitors are, try their services and speak with their customers.  What do they do right and where do they need improvement?  Are there goods and services that they could be selling and aren’t.  Are there services that they provide which are not necessary?

Next examine what business you are you really in.  Are you just in cupcakes?   I used to be a tour operator.  Was I in tourism? Yes.  But, in fact I was really in the Entertainment field. Ms. Cupcake Baker, you are in weddings and birthday parties.  Are you an event planner? Get a clear picture of the entire inventory your goods and services encompass and compare them to the competition. Are there areas not being covered by other companies?

How you are going to sell your product? Is it convenient for your customers? Will they find you easily  and can they easily make a purchase? How quickly will they receive their goods and if they aren’t right, how do you make amends? How does the competition sell and how will you be different? Think Zappos.

Is there a way to add emotional value to the purchase?  Maybe it is going green, how are your cupcakes packaged?  Maybe the cupcakes should be gluten free or for each cupcake ordered, another cupcake goes to the local children’s hospital.

Pricing is often a major pack separator.  Here’s a hint, start from the selling point and work backwards.  Let’s say your target price for a dozen cupcakes is $10.00.  How much profit do you want to make…subtract it and now you have your cost basis.  Check what your competitors are selling…is there a cost that they are incorporating that has no value to your client? See if there are there less expensive suppliers in allied fields that would love to expand into baked goods.

The internet and social media have opened so many avenues for clients to find their desired goods and services. As a small business, you need to find ways to separate yourself from your competitors while bringing increased value to your clientele.  Reflect upon your industry as a whole.  Expand the value of your product…sell cupcake wedding cakes or cupcakes that look like cheese burgers. You are talented but you’ll need to be different…Ms. Event Planner!

Lex Lyon is a mentor with SCORE San Diego. Contact him or any of their other 80 mentors at 619-557-7272 or online at sandiego.score.org.