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The Encore Entrepreneur



In order to draw people to us, we need to stand apart from the crowd in a way that they resonate with. And that's a very key part of it. We can stand apart from the crowd in a lot of ways, right? But we've got to do it in a way that our ideal clients resonate with. 

You don't have to be everything to everyone, and you don't want to be. You want to be firm in your beliefs and your approach to how you serve so that people who hold the same beliefs will be attracted to you. Today we're going to cover:

  1. Finding the gap in the market

  2. What makes you different, and how to figure this out

  3. How to study the competition but don't become them

This is our 50th episode! We're so grateful to you, our listener. Without you, there would be no reason to continue publishing. We're doing something new and you'll hear all about it inside this episode - enjoy!

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Episode Transcript:

[01:07] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: This is our 50th episode of the Encore Entrepreneur. Can you believe it, Deidre?

[01:13] Deirdre Harter: I can hardly believe it. Boy, time certainly does fly. And this has been one of my favorite ways to connect with all the amazing female entrepreneurs in the world.

[01:24] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I agree. If you've just started listening or you've been a listener from day one, we are so grateful for you.

[01:33] Deirdre Harter: One of the things we love to do is give you a peek behind the curtains of Encore Empire, and as our company grows, we're always looking for ways to streamline what we do to leverage our time and deliver more value more efficiently.

[01:51] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Every Tuesday since we started Encore Empire, we go live for live learning inside our free Facebook Group, the Empire of Unstoppable Women. Now, up until this point, we've published only two podcast episodes per month because that's all the bandwidth we've had. The other day, I was thinking, why not turn our weekly live learning into our podcast episode?

[02:14] Deirdre Harter: And I thought that was such an amazing idea. I'm like, Why didn't we think of this earlier? So that's what we're doing starting today. 

This means our listeners will receive value much more often, and we can offer multiple ways for our group members to engage with our content. And you know what? That is a win/win.

[02:35] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah.

[02:36] Deirdre Harter: Now, if you want to be able to interact with us and ask questions, then we encourage you to join the Empire of Unstoppable Women Facebook Group. And you can do that by heading over to encoreempire.com/community.

[02:53] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: We're excited about this shift. We will now be publishing weekly, and we may sometimes publish two episodes a week, depending on guest schedules and hot tips and information we want to share. 

We encourage you to look for ways you can streamline your business processes. It's through sharing what we're doing that we hope to inspire you to make things lighter and more fun in your business.

[03:17] Deirdre Harter: So enjoy this episode, and thank you for being a listener.

[03:26] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Hey, hey, Carmen here.

[03:28] Deirdre Harter: Hi, Ladies. Deidre here. Now, if you haven't met us yet, I'm Deirdre Harter, a CPA with over 20 years of experience auditing and advising businesses of all sizes on how to build sustainable profitability into their companies. My business partner here is Carmen Reed-Gilkison, an Online Business Manager and Whole Person Certified Coach with over 25 years of marketing experience. Together, we are business strategists and the co-founders of Encore Empire, where we teach our clients the business of business through our high-touch, year-long coaching programs. 

We customize everything to fit your unique needs. And just as no two people are the same, no two businesses are the same. Therefore, we don't believe in making our clients fit into cookie-cutter frameworks. If you're ready to find out how far you can go by getting the guidance you need inside your business, head over to encoreempire.com/success.

[04:32] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I've got a question for you. Do you know how to ensure that you stand out in a crowded marketplace? 

In order to draw people to us, we need to stand apart from the crowd in a way that they resonate with. And that's a very key part of it. We can stand apart from the crowd in a lot of ways, right? But we've got to do it in a way that our ideal clients resonate with. 

You don't have to be everything to everyone, and you don't want to be. You want to be firm in your beliefs and your approach to how you serve so that people who hold the same beliefs will be attracted to you. Today we're going to cover:

  1. Finding the gap in the market

  2. What makes you different, and how to figure this out

  3. How to study the competition but don't become them

[05:22] Deirdre Harter: Yeah. And this is like a game-changer conversation, so we are really excited to be talking about this. So first, let's talk about how to find the gap in the market and what it is that we're talking about if you have not heard that phrase before? 

Well, no matter what business you're in, what service you provide, or what products and offerings you have, there are others that provide something similar, right? You're not the only person doing what you're doing. At first, you might think that the marketplace is too crowded or there isn't room for you. I was just in a networking event this morning, and we were all talking about saturated markets. And most of us are in one. 

It sounds like it might be a bad thing, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Iif there are others in your market or serving your niche, that's actually a good sign because that means it's a profitable niche. 

Now, let's talk a little bit about research. When you start to look at the competition, and this is part of market research, and what they're offering, you're going to notice some similarities. And if you look long enough, you're going to begin to see the gap. So what is this gap that we're talking about? 

Well, the gap is the missing ingredient or the missing component in what the others are offering. And it doesn't mean that they are bad or that it's not a good offer. It just means that there's something that is missing that they're just simply not covering. And this is the thing that customers tend to complain about or things that they wish for. And if you've ever heard us talk about gathering ideal client language, which we throw around a lot around here because it's so very important, then you probably already have some of this information. 

Let's use an example that we're all familiar with so we know how this works. So if you go to Amazon.com and you pull up any product, even the best products, the highly rated products, the Amazon recommended products, you're going to see that there are underneath that product. And some of them are raving, but a lot of them are telling you what that missing ingredient is. A lot of them are telling you what's the gap. 

Now, it could just be that it's bad customer service, or it could be a feature that doesn't work, or that someone wished that this product had. And even if you're not creating consumer products because we're all service-based businesses here, this is still a great opportunity to learn. The gap is just as important as knowing who your ideal client is. It's the foundation of your marketing message and your sales conversations. 

So how does this work? If you are a service provider, does it really help to go look at the latest can opener and see what people are saying about it? Well, probably not, unless you're a cook. But what you can do is go to the books section, find books in your niche, others who are talking about the same thing that you're talking about, providing similar, because there are a lot of books out there from coaches and consultants, right, or course creators. So then, once you find those books, go read the reviews, and you're going to begin to see the gap. 

Now, here's an insider tip from someone who used to sell products on Amazon for about a decade, so I know a whole lot about the internal workings of it. Those first few reviews that you're going to see, are going to be the ones from their inner circle. They're the ones that they’re like, help us with the book launch and give us a good review. 

But if you can change the filter and you can see what are the three-star ratings or below, those are the ones that you want to be looking at. So looking at the bad reviews now, some are just going to be venting, but some of them are going to give you an actual comprehensive list of here's the pros and here are the cons. And that's what you're looking for.

[09:39] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And you know, Deirdre and I, the gap in the market that we fill is access to the experts. That's what we identified. It happened to us when we went out into the world of the online space and started taking different courses and programs individually before we ever met. And then collectively, we did it as Encore Empire. We went and purchased a program from someone who never laid their eyes on our business, even though she sold the program. So that's what you're looking for when you experience things, or your clients experience things; what do they keep saying that they're missing? That's the gap. 

Now we want to talk about what makes you different and how to figure this out. 

So we want to start with what made you decide to start the type of business you started. There must be something that drew you to it. Perhaps it was your own life experience. Many times we choose to help others overcome something that we overcame ourselves. We have the experience, and we're able to tell people; that this is what worked. I will help you get through this. 

Brainstorming here is going to come in handy when you're trying to figure out the gap and writing down what makes you different. So write down what made you feel so strongly about the transformation you want to help others with. It's good practice to go back and reconnect with our why from time to time anyway. But we want it to be something more than, well, I wanted to replace my income. Hopefully, you chose to start a business that lights you up and wasn't just a replacement for a job. If it was, then maybe you need to do a little bit more soul searching and write down what your values are, and is the business you're working in meeting those, and does it light you up? We want to make sure that we're building a business that helps us create impact and lights us up at the same time. 

A quick way to set yourself apart from others is when you see a majority of people in your industry doing the same thing. Use that as a nudge to figure out a different approach. So when you research the industry, you look at what other people who provide the same thing that you do to a similar audience or the same audience; what are they all doing? And sometimes, yes, like Deirdre I, we are business strategists, so we cover sales and marketing, and a lot of business coaches and strategists cover sales and marketing. 

We cover more than that. We cover the business of business. Deirdre's A CPA. This is a very unique aspect that we bring to the game because most programs you go into, they're not going to be able to tell you how to think like a CEO and how to run a business like a CEO and how to read your financials, what's important, what metrics to track. That's where we come in. That's what makes us different. 

So you want to look at what makes you different, and a lot of that comes from looking to see what is 90% or 100% of the market doing. And you can say, I think what they do is great, but I would do it differently. So why would you do it differently? And you want to play onto that. 

Now, another example that we can all relate to is that of pizza chains. I remember the day when you could only buy a cooked pizza from a pizza restaurant. Remember those days? Now there's Papa Murphy's and others where you purchase a pre-made pizza that you cook at home. That is a unique selling proposition. 

Carvana is another. They say it's the Car vending machine. It's pretty cool. When that came out, I was like, Whoa, that is totally cool. So auto dealerships have been around forever, and Carvana came in, and they were like, you know what? People want convenience, and they want to be able to get things on their terms, and they don't want to have to go sit in that room with the guy who's going to go talk to his manager for 5 hours and then go away with a car and wonder if they got a good deal. So Carvana created a different experience where they bring the car to you. 

Those are kind of extreme examples, but they illustrate what we're talking about here. So watch what's happening in your industry. What are others doing? Do you do the same things? And if so, why? Sometimes we do the same things. There are some things that we do that other people do as well. But we've carved out the few things that we do much differently that other people can't do. And that's another thing. You're unique, and this is where we want to capitalize on your uniqueness. 

No one has the same approach, the same skill set, the same way of looking at what you do as you. You are unique. So is there a way you can get the same or better results by approaching things differently? It just takes a little bit of brainstorming, and when you start looking at it in this manner, you see things a little bit differently. 

So grab a notebook and start a log of comparisons between you and what others in your industry are doing. Write down common practices in your industry. Do some research on your competitors: 

  • Are they doing some or all of the same common practices? 

  • Are they doing something unique? 

  • Are you doing anything unique? 

  • What can you identify that your clients need but nobody else is doing? 

Listen to what your customers complain about. And this goes back to Deirdre talking about looking at book reviews or anything. But we want to look at when your clients come to you. Hopefully, you've had a discussion with them and asked:

  • Where they have worked with someone who does something similar before? 

  • What brought them here to you? 

  • What do they wish was happening? 

  • What are they hoping to get from working with you? 

You need to be asking these questions when they come on, and when you shine a light on the gap, and you fill that gap well, you stand out because then they're like, oh my gosh, I have always wanted to have this service, I've always needed this, and no one gives this to me. And you'll start getting referrals and getting people drawn to you. 

So to identify how to begin differentiating yourself, ask yourself what you're the most passionate about in the work you do. Ask yourself what you firmly believe or what you firmly go against that is in your market. Because Polarization is a good differentiator as well. If everyone's doing X and you think you watch it and you go, you shake your head; it's like I don't know why they keep doing that thing, they need to be doing it this way. Well, you need to be starting to shout that out from the rooftops, right? It needs to be in your content, it needs to be in your messaging, and you need to show and state why you believe people can get mediocre results doing it that way, but if they just would do it this way, it would help because of one, two, three, whatever that is. 

Now, don't put pressure on yourself to be revolutionary. We're not talking about doing that at all. We're talking about leaning into who you are. We just want you to work at being 100% you and not try to water that down or try not to offend people. I'm not saying to offend people either, but a lot of times, people won't say what makes them different because they think, well, people are going to think that's weird, or no one else is saying that, and you actually want that. No one else is saying it. And that is the thing that sets you apart. And that's the thing that's going to draw those people. Because if no one else is saying the thing that you believe in and you start saying it, chances are people in your market are like, oh, my gosh, I don't know why someone else didn't think of this. So don't be afraid to be saying things that are different. 

Before you can be 100% you, you'll need to know what it is you stand for and what you stand against. That's another part of this brainstorming you want to make lists of. What do you firmly stand for, what do you stand against? And doing this kind of research is really fun when you look at the market and make these lists, and it brings a lot of clarity. So we really encourage you to take the time to do that. 

And this is where values come in handy. If you haven't identified your values, we suggest you do that because values are like guiding lights. If you value freedom or family or impact, making a difference, helping others, whatever it is, make sure that what you're doing is in alignment with those values and always stays in alignment, and that will help you create the business that you love.

[17:56] Deirdre Harter: And that's a great point, Carmen, you make about values because that in and of itself is your unique differentiator, right? Because no two people on the planet have the exact same values. We might share some values, but we all have our own values. And when you add value to perspective, there is no one like you, right? Like you are the only person. I am always interested when we're talking with clients or talking with people at networking events, and we begin talking about marketing content and what you should put out there. And it's surprising to me how many women are they shy away from talking. They go, I'm not supposed to be talking about myself. I'm supposed to be talking about my audience about my programs, and how I serve them. But we also need to talk about ourselves. When we are service providers, we're providing a service, and that right there indicates a relationship, right? 

It's one thing if we're selling widgets to people we have never seen and we'll never know; that's a whole different thing. But that's not what we do. We are in a relationship with people one way or the other. And so if you're going to be in a relationship, don't you want to know something about that person? Who they are, a little bit about how they think and what they value? And so that's the perfect content for you to add to your marketing mix. 

So let's talk about a little trap we can get into. When we start getting into this exercise, we start looking at the competition, but we don't want to become them, and we don't want to become intimidated by them, and we don't want to get into impostor syndrome. So this is kind of that fine line, and you have to know where that line is. 

When studying your competition, the benefit of this is it not only helps you identify the gap but it can also help you identify best practices that you can use in your own business. So we're not saying you have to do absolutely everything differently. There are best practices, right, that in business, in any kind of coaching, consulting service providing, there are best practices that we all need to follow, and that's actually something you can call out as well. 

You can do this compare and contrast thing, say here's a best practice that most of the service providers in my industry do. We all do this, and here's why. But here's the part that I do a little different. So this is how you can position it. 

Now, I like to say and you may or may not agree with me, but I believe that there is nothing new in the world. There are only variations of it. And as Carmen just talked about, you want to do you. That's your superpower, and that's your unique value proposition. But you also don't need to reinvent the wheel or reinvent yourself. 

Customers and clients expect certain things to be included, and we have to keep this in mind. Now, as business coaches, our clients expect us to teach them the business of business. That's what we are here to do and to help them build out all the strategies they need in every area of their business. So as business strategists, that's what we do. 

One example of the many strategies we teach is how to create a marketing strategy with content that converts into paying clients because that really is the point of going to the effort of putting out content. Right now, there are many other business coaches and marketing coaches out there who teach the same basic principle, right? They're teaching you how to do the same thing. So what Carmen and I have done is we have taken best practices from the industry, what other experts are doing. But we've added in our own tried and true experience, along with our relationship marketing system, which is something that is somewhat ours, and is unique to us. And we create a similar yet unique method that is highly effective. 

And we determined that the gap in our market, as Carmen was talking about earlier, and you'll find more than one. Another one of the gaps was authenticity, values, working with those values in our business, and access to the experts. 

Too many women were going through courses and programs that were giving them information but not providing direct guidance from the experts. Now we do things differently because of that experience. That was one of the very first things that we decided we were going to do differently, and our clients have access to us Monday through Friday. This is how we deliver custom strategies and transformational results. That's the gap that we identified and filled, and we can show you how to do the same thing. 

We've heard this a lot, that well when you're providing one-on-one services or coaching, you can't scale that way. You have to have other people doing everything in your business. But we didn't believe it. We're like, you know what, we don't believe in that, and we're going to find a different way. And we have. And so this is how doing these exercises can help you think differently. Instead of people saying, oh, you can't do it that way, go, let's think about how we can do it that way. That's how you stand apart. That is how you attract your ideal client. Avatar. 

Now, if you guys are loving this topic, are you ready to put it into action? Because we have an opportunity for you to do this very thing. You can join us for a deep dive into creating marketing that sets you apart from the crowd in our upcoming Marketing Methodology Workshop. It's beginning next Tuesday, September 26. 

We invite you to join us for that. It's going to be five days together, about 45 minutes per day, and we're going to be walking you through the process of getting clear on how to create a content plan that connects with your target market on an emotional level and has your followers saying, yes, I want to learn more.

[24:36] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And to join us there, head over to encoreempire.com/mmw

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