Creating a Successful Business in a Competitive Industry
This is the first post in our business series! We are excited to be able to share with you some business specific resources. Please let us know if there are any topics you are interested in learning more about by commenting below or letting us know on social media!
Our first topic is titled: Creating a successful business in a competitive industry.
This advice applies to any business in a competitive industry, but since our specific industry is vinyl crafting, some tips may have examples that are specific to this industry.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you have a business or are trying to set up a business in a competitive industry:
Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the first things to consider when it comes to being competitive, is to make sure the final product that you deliver to your customers is as finished and as polished as possible. To do this, you will need to practice, practice, and practice some more.
When there are many options available to have something made, you will stand out in the crowd if your product delivers the quality that your customer is expecting and that you can be proud of. The only way to get your product to this point is by practicing the technique or making the item over and over until you are confident that the end result is the best it can be.
If you are interested in starting a business, we recommend taking the time to learn and practice making items before you even start offering your products for sale.
The next thing to consider when staying competitive is your customer's perception of you and your business. If you present yourself, your business, and your products in a professional way, you will more likely be taken seriously as a business and customers will respect your work. It seems more and more that customer service isn't as important as it used to be. Prioritizing customer service and making sure your customers are taken care of goes a long way.
One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from the competition is to be unique. Trends and popular items are constantly changing in the vinyl craft industry so it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to offer everything that everyone else offers. If you can take a look at the trend and add your own spin to it, you will be more likely to attract customers because you have something different than everyone else has. It doesn't hurt to follow trends, but thinking outside the box instead of copying something someone else does will set you apart.
Find your Niche
One way to make sure you are unique in what you offer is to find your niche and define who your target market is. Within the vinyl industry, there are millions of things that you can do, so narrowing down your focus to a specific area is a better technique than trying to provide everything for everyone. This is also helpful when it comes to scaling your business and purchasing raw materials and inventory. Focusing on a few different things instead of offering and carrying a little bit of everything will help you find your niche and allow you to provide quality products.
Define Your Target Market
Once you have figured out your niche, the next step is to define your target market. This is basically identifying who your ideal customer is that will be buying your products. The more you know about who your ideal customer is, the easier it is to make decisions about your business and your products based on what your specific customers are looking for. Some of the questions you can ask yourself to figure out your target market are:
Demographics (age, marital status, gender)
Where do they live (geographic area)?
What industry do they work in?
What is their income level?
What are their hobbies?
What challenges do they face?
How can your product help overcome their challenges?
What is their preferred method to communicate?
A great article that discusses these questions and more ideas on how to define your target market can be found here.
Marketing is a huge part of reaching your new and existing customers. Word of mouth is a great way to get started and gain momentum. The more your customers rave about you to their friends and family, the more people you are able to reach without having to invest a dime. In addition to word of mouth advertising, social media is a great, free resource to reach potential customers and interact with existing customers. We will be providing a completely separate blog post on how to market to customers, but here are a few ideas and options that we love using:
Facebook Page and Groups
Posting Videos on TikTok
Posting Videos on YouTube
Pinning to Pinterest
Adding Social Media/Links in your Email Signature
The last, and I would say probably the most important tip to be successful in a competitive industry is to focus on yourself and your business, not your competition. You won't be able to move forward if your focus lies in what your competition is doing. If you are spending time worrying about your competition, all you are doing is distracting yourself and wasting precious time that could be spent making your products and services better which will help get you closer to your goals.