Skip to main content

Create a Product Plan & Grow Your Standout Business

Lesson 4 of 36

Differentiate Your Offer to Stand Out


Create a Product Plan & Grow Your Standout Business

Lesson 4 of 36

Differentiate Your Offer to Stand Out


Lesson Info

Differentiate Your Offer to Stand Out

Now as we start to get deeper into this, we want to talk about differentiation, because an important part of having a core offer, or moving in that direction, is figuring out how you're going to stand out. One of the big reasons that people get stopped up around focusing on a core offer really streamlining that business down to that one thing, their highest contribution, is because there are so many other options on the market. It's really scary to put all your eggs in one basket or all your tools in one tooly shelf thing. (laughs) In one workroom? If everybody else is doing something that feels really similar to what you're doing. If every time you put something up on Facebook, or send out an email, you feel like it's getting lost in the sea of chisels and screwdrivers and saws, because everyone else is a chisel or a screwdriver or a saw as well. But a crowded market is not a liability. It's actually an opportunity. A crowded market is an opportunity when you focus on what makes your ...

core offer different. So as we go, and not just in this lesson but actually in upcoming lessons as well, we're gonna layer on how the differences with your product, and what the opportunities you have to actually differentiate your products sooner, actually layer together to help you create a stronger value proposition, to help you create a unique selling proposition, and to help you really figure out what the hook behind your product is going to be. So you don't ever worry about that wall full of tools that have similar jobs, because you know what the job of your tool, what your highest contribution is going to be, which brings me back to socks. Brings me back to socks. Like I said before, Bombas didn't look at the sock market, and all of the shelves in the department stores that have been selling the same brands of socks for decades, and say, "It's not worth it to create a new pair "of socks, it's not worth it to create a brand," or "We can't make money only selling socks, "because all these other people sell socks." They said, "Our socks can be different. "Our socks can be better, because they are different, "and because of those differences we can "get people to pay attention." So let's take a closer look at the sock market. Which as my community manager Shannon said, is similar to Wool street. Sorry. I literally laughed every time I looked at this slide and so you're gonna have to bear with me with puns and things like that. So we're gonna do a market analysis of the sock market. We're gonna look at four different brands. Now there are more socks brands than this but this kind of gives us a full range of what the market actually looks like. We're gonna look at Hanes, we're gonna look at SmartWool, we're gonna look at Nike, and we're gonna look at Bombas. Hanes, SmartWool, Nike, and Bombas. Let's start with price. There's a whole range of prices here when it comes to socks. Hanes, you can get pretty cheap. You're gonna go to Walmart, you're gonna go to Target. You're gonna go to the local department store, you're gonna grab a pair of Hanes and they're not gonna ask you much money for them to walk out of the store. SmartWool, do you guys know SmartWool socks? Love SmartWool; Marino, really great kind of performancey outdoorsy-type socks, without making your feet hot. They are not cheap. They are sort of the opposite of Hanes. They are gonna set you back quite a bit. They're awesome, totally worth it. But they cost a lot. Nike is gonna fall somewhere in between. They make a sport sock that is definitely higher up in the market, but not so high that most of us probably don't at least, the runners or the fitness buffs among us don't own a couple of pairs of Nike socks. And then finally we got Bombas and they're gonna be at about the same price point as Nike. Somewhere in the middle; not your cheap sock, but not your super expensive sock either. So right there in the sock market, we see there's a lot of variety. Variety, just means there's also opportunity. In terms of the customer, each of these socks appeals to a different type of customer. So even though they're all selling the same thing, ostensibly, we'll get to that. They're selling it to different people. Hanes is selling to a convenient shopper. The kind of person who's literally going to Walmart or Target or the local department store and just saying, I need a pair of socks, I don't care. I just need socks; that's the convenient shopper. SmartWool is selling to the outdoor enthusiast. The person who cares about the hiking shoes that they put on, cares about the hiking outfit, the gear that they carry to help them get through the next hurdle, the next hike. Nike is selling to the performance athlete, or the person who wants to be the performance athlete as well. And I'm gonna say Bombas is selling to the millennial. That might be an unfair or, as a millennial I don't know why I'm using the word unfair but, that might not be exactly their target customer, but it's a pretty good shorthand for it. Four different brands, three different price points, four different target customers, all in one market. If any one of these brands wanted to say something about their sock, they could say something different. And they do. So let's look at style now. Hanes, style? No. (laughs) They're white socks, maybe they're black or gray, but they're just socks, they're Hanes socks. SmartWool tends to have sort of a minimalist look, and even when they have alpine patterns and things, neat things like that, it's still pretty minimalist, still very contemporary. Nike is very brand-forward. If you're wearing a pair of Nike socks, it's obvious you're wearing Nike socks, 'cause they have a giant swoosh on them, and Bombas is colorful and limited edition, so they all look completely different too. Availability: Hanes, available everywhere. SmartWool, they're available in outdoor stores, online, but you kind of have to go and seek them out. You can't find them just anywhere. Nike is generally available in department stores, sport stores. Bombas? Only available online. Only at, can you buy Bombas. That's part of how they stand out. Then finally, brand. Brand is an important part of the market to take a look at here. So Hanes is sort of a legacy brand. They've been around forever, they will be around forever. They're a legacy brand. They don't have to put a lot into branding because they are Hanes; everyone knows what they are. SmartWool has that specialty brand kind of aspect to them. They just do what they do, and nothing else. Nike has a performance-oriented brand. Bombas has sort of a cutting edge brand. Their goal is to really put themselves out at the forefront of their market and say, "Hey, we're doing something new with socks." Who knew you could? They say you can, it's great. So right here just in socks, a market that is so crowded, so full of brands that have been around for literally 100 years or more, brands that have tons and tons of money behind them like Nike and tons of name recognition, there is an opportunity for a company like Bombas to do something different. So if it's possible to do something different in the sock market, it's possible to do something different in your market. Now as I mentioned, we're gonna be using CoCommercial, which is my company and my core offer as sort of a case study throughout this whole class. Let's take a look at the market that we operate in, which is the business support market. If there is a market as crowded as the sock market, it's probably the business support market. Everyone wants to sell you something to help you do your business better. Your Facebook feed is full of the ads for it, I know that it is. That, and Bombas socks if you're me. So let's take a look at the market analysis for the business support market. These are the things I'm thinking about, when I think about how we're going to stand out. What message is gonna break through, what brand is gonna break through. And we're gonna look at this in four different ways. Coaching; in other words, one-on-one business coaching. We're gonna look at courses, all those business courses out there people are trying to get you to buy for $2,000. We're gonna look at books, because books is a big competitor in the business support market. Why spend $2,000 on a course, when you can spend $15 on a great book? Then finally, CoCommercial. So first of all, price. Business coaching tends to be very expensive. Sure, you can find a cheap coach, and then let me know how that worked out for you. Coaching we'll say is at the top end of this market. Courses, it's a little bit less than that, but it's still pretty pricey. Books, like I said, $15, and you can get an amazing business education. Finally, CoCommercial; we're right on par with books. It's $15 a month. Also very, very inexpensive compared to the rest of the market. Customer. Who is the customer that each of these appeals to? For coaching, the customer is sort of a quick start kind of person. They're the person that wants to say, "Hey I've got this idea, and I am ready to roll. "I just want to know what I need to know "to get started as fast as I can." Courses appeal to the DIYer, the person who loves figuring out how to do it themselves, has a high value for that and feels really confident doing it themselves. Books are for the thinker. Someone who really likes to consume something, digest it and really think it through. CoCommercial, we're kind of for the explorer. Someone who's familiar enough to figure out what they want to learn next, what questions they want answered next, and what conversations they wanna be a part of. You might say, "All right Tara, I've bought "all of these things before." That's fine; think about kind of the mindset that you were in each time you bought these things. Maybe there was time when you were that quick start person and you were like, "Yep, this is time for me "to invest in coaching." Same thing with courses; you're here, right, because you're a DIYer, you love learning this stuff and figuring out how to do it yourself. I know you guys are readers, too. You're big thinkers, that's another reason you're here and you're probably explorers too. Just because you have one offer, doesn't mean that people aren't gonna buy other things. It's another reason we need to do a market analysis; you can stand out, you can find that unique selling proposition, you can create that really clear hook for your product, and still be one of a number of things that people buy. An ax isn't the only tool people need, right? They also need a screwdriver and a hammer and maybe they need some of those chisels, too. So our goal here isn't to find out how your core offer is gonna be the end-all, be all for your customer. It's where it fits in in the rest of the market. Let's look at the next piece here, what kind of style is each of these things. Coaching tends to be one-on-one, courses is modular content, really leading people through things step by step like we're doing here. Books, written. CoCommercial we like to call it a brain trust. It's sort of a social network of people. It's a very, very different style than all of the rest of the pieces of the market here. Availability; this is another place where we saw a real opportunity to innovate on how people bought in the business support market. Coaching tends to be limited by schedule. If there's a coach you really want to work with, and they don't have any openings, you're out of luck. Courses, people have figured out are easiest to sell if you only sell them a couple of times per year. If you have something you really want to learn, you found the person you want to teach you but they're not selling their course right now, again, you're out of luck. Books, thank goodness are available all the time, you know, for now. CoCommercial is also available all the time. We decided that we didn't think it needed to be limited by our schedule, we didn't have a schedule it needed to be limited by. We also didn't want to open it up one or two times a year, we wanted to make it something where they could get answers when they needed it. Again, as I was thinking about, "How are we "gonna build out this product? "What is this brand going to look like? "What is it about us that's going to solve the need "that people have that isn't currently being fulfilled?" I was looking at the whole rest of this market and asking myself, where's the opportunity? Where's the opportunity? Because a crowded market isn't a liability, it's an opportunity. Finally here with brand, coaching is a high-end, high-touch kind of brand. Courses are do-it-yourself kinds of brands, and they really lift up the student. Books have sort of a legacy brand if that exists. And then CoCommercial, we like to build our brand around dependability. In other words, we're there for you. There's somebody online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. May not be somebody I'm paying to be there; might be somebody who's paying to be there. But somebody's there who you can talk to and get your questions answered. So again, as I'm looking at this whole market and thinking through all the things that have been offered for years and years and years and all the messages that are out there and all the different pricing structures that are out there. All the different forms of availability and brands that are out there. My number one question to myself is, "What's the opportunity here? "How can I do something different "that actually serves a need that isn't currently "being met?" So you want to start thinking about your market in the same way, instead of thinking of it as just a whole bunch of noise that you are trying to shout through, start looking for where the signal gets all broken up. Where the holes in that market are. Because that's your opportunity for your core offer. How would your core offer adapt to make the best use of the opportunity in the market? The fact of the matter is, the core offer that you currently have or the product or service or program that you're thinking about moving into that core offer spot, it might needs some adjustments. It might need to adapt. You might need to change the way you talk about it, the way you offer it, the brand behind it, the pricing behind it. You might need to change something else that we haven't talked about yet. But there is an opportunity in your market to take that offer and fit it in to that hole. By fitting it into that hole, you end up serving your customers better and standing out at the same time. So this is not the only time we're gonna talk about differentiation; we're gonna keep talking about it actually, over, on into the next lesson as well. I just want you to get those gears turning. You don't have to have answers to this question yet, but I want you to be thinking about it 'cause this is incredibly important. What I'm trying to do right now is break down a certain level of resistance that I know exists. Alaya's like yeah, I'm feeling it. I know that anytime I'm talking about streamlining, focusing, concentrating on just one thing, I know you guys, I know you guys out there in the online world, there is a certain level of resistance that happens, and so I want you to start thinking about possibilities instead of roadblocks. So this question is all about possibilities. How could your core offer adapt to make the best use of the opportunity in your market? What is the opportunity in your market? Do we have any questions so far? Jennifer. So I've been thinking about what you're saying. And this whole challenge of re-envisioning. So I'm trying to understand language issue here. So when you say core offer, is it more of like a framing of things? Is it necessarily one product or is it a cluster of things that address something? Great question. It's gonna be different depending on a different type of business, so will answer for you first and then I will answer for the physical product people out there who are freaking out right now. (laughs) So for you, I mean one offer. I mean that one program you sell is your core offer. If you are like Bombas, and I use that example as a reason. If you are like Bombas and you have physical products, it is often the type of physical product that you offer. Or it is an approach to that physical product, but if you go on, you will see all they sell is socks. They might sell a whole bunch of different kinds of socks, but all they sell is socks and each and every one of those pairs of socks is based on the same core concept of innovation, cutting-edge comfort. We'll talk more about that soon. This does need to adapt a little bit if you're talking about a business where you sell jewelry, you sell art, you sell illustrations. Yes, the concept needs to adjust a little bit, but the same idea, that core concept exists. But Jennifer, for you, we're talking about one product. Okay. All right, one skew if you will. Any other questions? I think we've got a couple of questions online. Let's see what we got here. Ali, hey Ali! She says, if you have raving fans who buy everything you offer, how do you help them? So this is gonna be cut to day two. We're gonna talk exactly about how you can build complementary offers that help your customers along their journey. What I'm not saying is that you can't continue to serve those raving fans. But what I often find happening, and Ali, this is a fantastic question, to talk about another aspect of this what else problem, is that when you have raving fans like that, who buy everything you offer, you get sucked into an endless cycle of only creating for those raving fans, instead of going out and finding new ones. The problem is, loyalty is not really a thing that exists in perpetuity. Yes you can have raving fans, yes you can have loyal buyers. But what happens when they decide they like chocolate better than vanilla? Or pistachio better than Neopolitan? There's gonna be a time when they decide to switch things up; we all do it. There are very, very, very, very few brands that we stick with our whole lives. How many of us are now raving fans of Apple products who at some point owned a Dell? I did, I was a huge Dell fan, until I was an Apple fan. Your customers are exactly the same, so I want you to build a business that's a streamline focus, customer-oriented system that not only takes care of your raving fans, but also very easily allows you to bring new people into the fold as well. 'Cause you don't wanna be in that endless cycle of creating something new. If you only focused on those people, you are always, always, always gonna be working your butt off to make them something they wanna buy and at some point, they're going to jump ship. And that sucks, but it's true, and so you should prepare your business for that fact. Next question. Caybay says, where does hosting a members only fee-based community fit into your business support model? That's exactly what CoCommercial is, it's a members only, fee-based community, and that was the opportunity I saw in the market is that people actually needed something where they can talk business without having to be actively enrolled in a course, without having to sift through the garbage of free Facebook groups, without having to spend tons and tons of money on a coach and maybe getting access to that coach's other clients as well. As I really thought through, what is it that people need here? What need isn't currently getting met? I saw a hole for a members only, fee-based community. So there's tons of opportunity there. There's opportunity there for more than just mine in fact. There's opportunity for one that's maybe only for coaches. Mine's for all digital small business owners. Maybe yours is just a coaching association or just a web consultancy organization, or just a nutritionist organization. Those are all opportunities, those are all holes in the market that could be filled so you can easily stand out as well. But that's exactly what that case study is about. As you hear me talk more and more about CoCommercial, if that's the kind of thing you want to build, a members only, fee-based community, just be listening to all the things I'm talking about there because that's gonna tip you off on how you can better differentiate your community as well. You guys good? Now, differentiators are not how we sell our products. They're how we figure out what they need to look like, how we need to build our companies, how we need to position things, but they're not why people actually buy. People don't buy because a product is different, people buy because that difference helps them achieve something they've never been able to achieve before. In other words, in the words of Brant Cooper, who wrote The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development, he said, "Your differentiator "is not your compelling reason to buy, "but the benefit your differentiator provides likely is." In other words, how is what you do differently a benefit to your customer. How is what you do differently, that hole that you found in the market, how is that gonna help them get a job done they've never gotten done before? How is that gonna help them reach a goal they've never reached before? How is that gonna help them make something more convenient, less expensive, less hassle, less anxiety-ridden? So how does that hole that you've started to develop in the market actually benefit your customers? What unanswered questions does it answer for them? What nagging problems, what itch they just can't seem to scratch, does it take care of? I want each and every one of you, and you at home as well, to be thinking about what that difference is that you can use with your core offer. What's the opportunity in your market where you have an opportunity to say, "I'm gonna do things differently. "Everyone else is doing it this way," or "All these other things have already been tried, "all these other things are already on the market. "But this small hole exists." That's your differentiator. That's the differentiator that you're gonna develop into and adapt to. What's the benefit of that differentiator? You don't have to have an answer to this yet. Like I said, we're tearing down the resistance right now. So we're gonna actually come back to this question a few times. But I want you to be thinking about it. What's the benefit to your customer of you and your product or your service or your program doing things differently? What's the benefit to your customer of your product, service, program, your core offer, doing things differently?

Class Description

Have you been offering the same products or services for years and want to start creating new streams of revenue for your business?

But what can you offer your customers to grow your business?

Even after being in business for awhile, it is very common to be unsure of exactly what to offer as a service, package, or product to bring in the big bucks.

If you are constantly creating new things to figure out how to earn more money, or you just can’t see a way to make more from what you’re selling now. Or if you are always guessing, and that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, unfocused, and insecure, then this class is for you.

Maybe you’ve toyed around with dozens of offers over the years, and now you feel confused or frustrated by what your customers say they want (but still don’t buy).

Don't you want to create a system that will allow you to work less and earn more?

In this class, we will create a simple, customer-focused, and systematized product plan. You will be able to use this simple product plan to put yourself in control of your earning, build your brand, so customers know what you do, and you can grow your business at the pace you choose.

By the end of this class, you will be able to:

  • Equip your business with 1-3 offers you can use to FINALLY ATTAIN YOUR REVENUE GOALS
  • Easily prototype and test any offer you need to add to your plan so that you launch THE RIGHT products
  • Clearly and concisely describe what your business offers so you can ATTRACT new customers FASTER
  • Spend less time in creation and delivery mode and more time doing the things that GROW your business
  • CONFIDENTLY plan what you’ll offer and when based on your customer's feedback
  • Describe the VALUE behind what you’re offering in an easy-to-understand way
  • Explore possibilities for SCALING products—beyond whatever the hot trends in product development are

Customers might go elsewhere because they prefer to stick with one company that can give them what they need. Do not let your business never reach the stage where you can relax and enjoy the result of your hard work. Or worse, go out of business because you never land on an offer that can pay your bills—let alone create wealth or stability.


Lindsey Warriner

Every time I thought the class had reached a point that I knew "enough" about, Tara dropped yet another game-changer that I'd never even considered. Great experience, great speaker, great class.

Alaia Williams

Once again, Tara has been extremely helpful in getting me to think through where I'm taking my business next. I'm excited about the opportunities that lie ahead!

Ate Myt

Although the course targets people who have already started a business, I found it very helpful for me as I start my own business. I particularly appreciate the step-by-step guide to developing a 3-pillar business model. Very practical. i highly recommend it.