How do you stand out in a crowd of small businesses?

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(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

A Saturday morning at the Jozi Food Market at the Pirates Sports Club in Greenside, Johannesburg, pointed out a valuable lesson in the power of differentiation. It’s amazing how many know about the need to be different but how do you put it into practice. The difference is between a product that can attract customers and another that leaves them feeling “so what”.

During the morning I looked at many stalls, some with a variety of products. I wondered why I found some stores interesting while I just glanced at others and walked by. On display were a range of foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs samoosas and pancakes. Then there were organic coffees, smoked foods, second-hand books, fresh flowers, home designed clothes and some herbal products.

What made the difference?

You’ve got to realise that people, potential buyers, who go to the Saturday morning markets are on the lookout for something different. The usual places where they shop offer food mass-produced by the giant food corporations, fast-foods from nationwide chains that provide the usual unhealthy dose of sugar, fat and starch and products such as clothing and handbags that break after being worn a couple of times. They want products that are healthy, delicious and that are hand-made to last.

The stalls I was drawn to were the authentically made, genuine articles. Such as the micro-trader who smokes everything from bacon, trout, salt to chipotle and makes bacon jam and brown sauce. You can’t find these products on supermarket shelves and not even in delicatessen outlets. He doesn’t supply delis because they want his products at such low prices that he would have little or no margin left.

Entrepreneurs, micro business owners, can provide an entry or starting point to bigger things by selling their products at Saturday morning markets. Do you make something or sell something already made? That depends on what interests you. The problem is that if you don’t have something interesting or attractive, you won’t pull potential customers. If they can get what you offer from anywhere else, then what’s the point?

This reasoning applies to anything that you wish to make and sell. You can offer a product similar to everyone else but how well will it do and can you charge more than your competitors? If you come up with a new idea for a product, it has to be different from what’s already on the market or you won’t stand out.

Looking at the products on offer at the Saturday morning market you can see those small-scale entrepreneurs who did not take their thinking further than merely copying what’s already available out there. The results? Bored staff waiting for customers at the stalls and customers who turn away once they see what’s being offered is the “same old, same old”. Nothing new. Nothing different.

It’s not big expensive things that you have to do. In some instances all it takes is a clever marketing twist. For example, the enterprising business person from the DRC who was selling “Parisian-style” pancakes. They looked just like plain pancakes but his marketing helped him attract young and old.

You might think it’s difficult to come up with something different, something new, but “Breakthrough Ideas” can help you with simple and easy-to-use tools that will take your thinking one step ahead of your competitors. Here’s the link. In today’s competitive marketplace it’s not enough to do what everyone else is doing. For a small business owner it’s just plain stupid.

With just a small “edge” you can make your product more attractive and even raise your prices that will ironically appeal to a significantly higher number of buyers. “Breakthrough Ideas” removes all the guesswork and pain, replacing it with tested methods that will show you how to increase the value of your product and increase the price without ruffling the feathers of your customers. Here’s that link.

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