Tips & Talk 24 – Competition! Now What?

Women looking at the competition on a cell phoneOh no! A competitor encroaches into your “territory” and your first thought is that all is lost. They must be so much better than you – with a higher quality product at a lower price.

Please press the pause button. Let’s take the emotion down a level and talk logically about what to do in this situation. Because it’s inevitable. We all encounter competitors on a regular basis.

Everything will be just fine and I think some of my suggestions will surprise you!

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Transcript
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It's Sue.

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And thanks for joining me for tips and talk day.

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

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

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If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DME, over on Instagram at gift biz,

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unwrapped competition is moving in now,

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what do you do?

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I was inspired with talking about this because Wendy in gift

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biz breeze,

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which is my private Facebook group,

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where we all get together as gifters bakers,

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crafters makers talk about business things.

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If you're not there and you want to join us,

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feel free to do so.

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We'd love to have you there.

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She brought up a point of concern this week in that

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somebody who is in her industry is moving into the area.

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So she's going through all of these emotions,

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all of these thoughts that would be natural and typical.

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If you have a competitor who's moving in.

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And so what do you do about this?

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So Wendy,

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although I'm going to be talking directly to you,

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I'm really talking to all of us because let's face it.

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No matter what you make,

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there will be people who make a similar thing.

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So you would call them a competitor.

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But what happens if they come right into your area,

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you feel like your battling for the local attention.

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And not only that,

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there's a little extra layer that Wendy talks about here in

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that all the profits of sales go to a charity.

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So she's feeling already like,

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oh my gosh,

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this company could potentially be so much better than me.

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Cause that's the automatic place that we jumped to,

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right? Competitor comes in there better.

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Why do we do that to ourselves?

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I'm not exactly sure,

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but let's talk through what to do about this.

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Not only when you're facing a situation,

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but then in the future so that these situations don't feel

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so insurmountable.

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The first thing to do is take a deep breath and

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try and get your emotions in check because that's the automatic

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default, the anxiety,

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the racing heart.

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When you find this out,

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the gasp in your throat,

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like, oh my gosh,

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how am I going to compete?

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So the first thing is getting control of your emotions and

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just get yourself in check and say,

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okay, this is a situation now what I'm going to do

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about it.

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So that's the very first thing.

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Second thing is,

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is to go on a path of discovery.

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You know,

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how they always talk when there's a court case coming up

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that there's time for exploration and discovery before a case even

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starts, this is what you will want to do.

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Find out more about who's coming into the area.

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So you really understand truly what's happening.

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Not what your mind is telling you about that that person

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is going to be so much better,

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but uncover what's happening.

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That means who are the owners?

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Have they been making this product before?

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Or are they brand new?

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What is this?

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Cause I was just telling you that Wendy's very,

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very concerned about the fact that the profits are going to

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go to a local charity.

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So what is the cause?

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Is it a time bound type of a cause?

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Or is it an ongoing cause then look at the product.

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How is the product similar,

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different, maybe attracts a different audience than your product does all

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that type of thing.

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So what can you find out about them?

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And then also price.

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Now none of this I might say is for you to

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discover all of this so that you can match it.

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Absolutely never do that.

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That's the wrong move.

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Don't totally readjust your whole company to match a competitor and

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be lower priced,

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also doing a charity to match what they're doing.

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There's a saying that is Sally Hogshead.

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Different is better than better as a business owner.

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You're much stronger if your product and your company is different,

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not better than another person's company.

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Also experience you have personality in terms of how you show

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up on mine,

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all of that.

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You want to be different.

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You never want to try and match an absolutely not undercut

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price. And I want you to think about this as a

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big puzzle.

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It's a game and come into it strategically.

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How am I going to put this puzzle together?

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And then what is the picture going to look like at

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the end?

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So you uncover all this information about owner's experience,

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the product,

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the price,

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the charity,

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how their market getting to understand and put together the pieces

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of the puzzle of your competitor.

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So you have a realistic view,

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not this emotional view that they're going to be better than

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you. And then what you want to do is determine where

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things are different,

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right? Cause different,

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better than better,

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and get really solid in what you offer.

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Where are some differences?

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Do your bath and body products tend to be used more

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by a certain area of the population than others.

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Are they more for moms with babies?

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Are they more for people who live in a certain area

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of the country where their skin needs to be pampered in

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a different way?

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You know,

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maybe your audiences are already a little different.

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Do you use different products?

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Okay. So maybe your products are coconut oil based and theirs

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are different.

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I don't know all the ingredients of bath and body.

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So I can't go into that.

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And then what you want to do is call out those

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differences and those strengths and be known for the things that

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you do.

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And you know what I'm going to say to you too.

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It's okay.

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If you're higher priced,

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you don't have to call out the fact that you're higher

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priced, but call out the quality and what your product provides

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that is different than other people in the market.

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This is the approach to making sure that people know you.

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I know your business.

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I'll also say,

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and I think you'll understand this.

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When I say it,

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having a competitor come in your market can actually call additional

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attention to your whole industry.

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You know,

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social media advertising.

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If they have a brick and mortar shop,

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any of that,

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that's calling attention to your history and to those products.

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And you can play on that as well.

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Now here is what's going on.

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Oh, for sure.

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Absolutely. For sure.

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And it's natural.

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So expect it.

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When a competitor comes into the market,

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your customers are going to try it out.

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If you have people who have been at your craft show

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for a long time,

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they're going to walk by that other booth.

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And there will be a portion who will be tempted and

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interested in trying out another,

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the product it's okay.

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It's all right.

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It's natural.

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It's going to happen.

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This is when all of the systems that you've put in

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place and the personality I park on this hallway.

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It's time that you've been sharing who you are.

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You are what your business stands for.

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Why you started that whole deep,

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personal connection where people really attach to you.

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This is,

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is why that's so important.

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Because even if they try someone else,

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they're going to come back to you.

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I love bath and body products.

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A lot of you guys know that I am a supporter

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of Chino with Lula's bath and bombs.

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Her body scrubs are to die for.

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Does that mean that I don't use any other body scrubs

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ever? No.

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I mean,

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I use lots of body scrubs.

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I love it.

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That whole product.

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I don't always wear the same earrings.

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I don't always even wear the same one makeup line for

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that matter.

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I like to try things new.

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And then ultimately I kind of go back to what I

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liked the best.

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So don't worry about that.

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But the point is developing this deep connection and deep relationship.

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That's going to keep people with you then finally,

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and I've already been talking about this a little bit already.

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This is the reason why I'm going not.

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When all of a sudden there's a competitor in your market,

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do you start this?

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You want to start this.

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If you haven't already today getting your audience,

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the followers who support your business,

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people who are attracted to you because they're finding you with

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all the different things you're doing along the social media craft

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shows, farmer's markets,

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networking, all of that.

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Once you've gotten them into your sphere,

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you need to personalize it for them.

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This is something different for us as small businesses versus the

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big brands.

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The big brands are spending millions of dollars to get their

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name out there.

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And the connection is with the brand,

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the name as a small business,

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I will suggest that our connection is by us as human

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beings. One-on-one small businesses relationships.

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So how do you do that?

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You tell your story,

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you talk about how you've gotten into the business.

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Why making,

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what you make is so dear to you,

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what are the benefits of using your product?

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Why does your or product stand out and is superior for

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the qualities of what you put in,

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whether it's the ingredients,

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you know,

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there's all different types of things that add value to your

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product, right?

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And then the other thing that nobody else can duplicate,

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not one single person is you your personality by going online,

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being at shows where you're showing up as you in front

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of your audience and your customers,

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this is the best and biggest way you can differentiate yourself

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because nobody else can be the authentic you and stay with

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me as we go forward with my podcasts,

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because I have a really exciting episode,

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I actually was just editing it this morning,

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running through the final edit that will help you with being

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confident with the real authentic you.

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And it's not what you've heard before.

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It's a whole brand new thing.

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So I'm excited to tell you about that.

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I'd like to end here with one other point,

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and that is the thinking that there is abundance out there

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in the world.

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Think of how many people Wendy need bath and body products.

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You're not going to attract every single one of them,

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but are certainly enough people in the market.

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And in your communities online for you to be able to

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grow and support a stable business.

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It's not like if one person goes to their competitor,

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that's the point of focus for you right now that there's

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not another customer out there for you,

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or that you've lost that customer forever.

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They could never be yours.

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You both could have very solid businesses and not having one

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duplicate customer.

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So when you start to get into that mindset,

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everything feels like it starts to calm down.

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There is enough out there for all of us.

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So hopefully that gives you some peace.

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I want you Andy to go back right now and start

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putting that puzzle piece together.

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You're in discovery fact finding mode about who this is,

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who's coming in and to the market.

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You don't need to match what they're doing.

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You need to understand what they're doing,

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see how you are positioned differently.

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Talk to your strengths.

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Okay? When a competitor comes in,

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ruffles our feathers and makes us all anxious,

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and that heartbeat raises through the roof and you feel you're

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doomed. I mean,

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cause we get dramatic like that.

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Don't we,

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we need to just breathe and remember that it's up to

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us to do the right work.

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So we received the orders that we deserve.

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And by doing that regularly throughout our business,

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all the way along when a competitor comes in,

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it's not as jolting because you've been doing the right work

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all along.

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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 go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours.

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Share your handmade products with us.

1 Comment

  1. Molly A on August 19, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    I did a market this spring and there was another leather worker there. And we were right across the aisle from each other. It was completely awkward because we had somewhat similar products and style of set up. She wasn’t real friendly either. As I have done this market before, I had some repeat customers.
    While I welcome competition, man it’s hard being right next door. I did mention to the market manager, after the show, that it was super awkward. They were super apologetic and hadn’t even realized it was an issue. Now they get it and are more strategic in their vendor layout.
    It all worked out, but I don’t think either one of us got the sales we could have if we actually looked like we were separate businesses.

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