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Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition

28th January 2009

Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition

Every once in a while I like to throw out a little Marketing jargon just to prove that I can speak the lingo if I have to do so.  Today the piece of jargon I want to throw out is this:  USP or unique selling proposition.

Basically your USP is the thing or things that makes your company and your services different from other businesses in your market.   Finding your USP and making sure your customers know about it can be very beneficial for your business.  After all, your unique selling proposition may be what causes a customer to decide to work with you over another embroidery business.

Every business has a USP, the trick is finding it.  To determine what the USP is for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is unique about my business?  What do I do that no one else does?
  2. What of the items listed as answers to question 1 are most important to my customers?
  3. How will the unique qualities of my business benefit my customers?
  4. How can I communicate my USP in a meaningful and easy to understand way?

Keep in mind that a USP has to be concrete and connected to solving a customer’s problems or relieving their pain.  “The Best Embroidery Shop in the World” might sound like a great claim to make, but it isn’t necessarily believable or a slogan with which customers can connect.  When you’re letting customers know about your USP, it has to be something in which they can believe and something that is easy to remember.  Fancy slogans don’t necessarily do the job.  Keep it simple, concise and to the point.

Finally, the main thing to remember is that your USP must be about what you can do for your customers, not about how long you’ve been in business or how many machines you have.  The goal of a Unique Selling Proposition is to make your business stand out in the minds of your customers.  To do that, your USP has to focus on what your business can do for your customer, not the other way around.

    posted in Making Your Business Grow | Comments Off

    26th January 2009

    That’s a Wrap, Folks

    Well, the first trade show of the year is behind us and it appears it was a success.  We sold out all the stock we took to the show.  We saw a lot of people and were able to tell them about our new products.   Instead of being the new kid on the block, as we were last year, this year EnMart was a seasoned veteran, and a name that people knew.  What a difference a year makes.

    It’s always fun to go to California, if for no other reason than because it’s warm there.  When you’re corporate headquarters is in beautiful, but downright frigid at present, Northern Michigan, sunshine and warm temperatures are especially appealing.  It’s also fun to get to meet so many of our customers and potential customers.  Nothing helps us become the company we want to be more than talking with our customers and finding out what they want and need.  Our goal is to be your one-stop shop and to provide the best service and products possible.  The best way to do that is to meet with you and find out what you want and need.  Trade shows allow us to do that.

    We also get to do fun things at trade shows like hold drawings and give away prizes.  Our congratulations go to Janet Wood of Janet’s Embroidery, who won a Best 50 kit in this year’s drawing.   Congratulations on your win Janet.  We’ll be contacting you later today to find out where to send your prize.

    Our next stop on the trade show circuit will be March at the Atlantic City ISS Show.    If you are planning to attend that show, and need passes, please do let us know.  We have passes for ISS Atlantic City and ISS Orlando as well.  If you need passes for either show, just contact our customer service department and we’ll be happy to send some out to you.

    posted in Trade Shows | Comments Off

    23rd January 2009

    New Product Announcement

    EnMart is proud to announce that we have added some new items to our product offerings.  We’re excited about these additions to our inventory, and we think you will be as well.

    Run Rite Magnetic Bobbins –  There’s a new magnetic bobbin in town, and we’re proud to say EnMart has it.  Run Rite Bobbins have one entire side that is a magnet, offering better control and consistency than other magnetic bobbins.  Because these bobbins come 144 to a box,  these bobbins will not only save you time, they will also save you money.

    Flame Guard Fire Retardant Thread –  Our customers asked for it, and we delivered.  EnMart is adding 15 colors of fire retardant thread to our product lines.  This thread has extreme resistance to heat exposure and is perfect for garments where resistance to heat is a necessity.

    Variations Variegated Polyester Thread –  Variations is the perfect accent for all your fine embroidery.  Available in 25 bright, vibrant shades, this thread sews smoothly and easily.

    Dazzling Metallic Thread – Iris Dazzling Metallic thread is now available in a larger size, 5500 yard king spools. Our Dazzling Metallic is 100% commercial grade metallic thread.

    Smooth ‘N Silky Rayon Thread –  The remaining 200 c0lors of Iris Rayon thread will join the 100 colors already listed on the EnMart website.  EnMart will now offer the entire 300 color spectrum of Smooth ‘N Silky Thread.

    All the new products will be added to our online store in the next few weeks.    If you would like to be notified when the new products are added, simply contact us and we’ll be glad to add you to the notification list.

    posted in EnMart News | 1 Comment

    21st January 2009

    Personalization through Monograms

     We talk a lot about personalization on this blog.  Covering this topic makes sense for us since we sell items that can help you make your customer’s garments unique and special.  One way to make garments personal and unique is to add a monogram to them.  Monograms are fairly easy and quick to sew and can add a special touch to a garment without adding a lot of time or effort to your stitch out.

    Historically monograms were the province of rulers or the upper class of society.  They were often used to mark clothing so the laundress would know to whom the washed garments should be returned.  Rulers used monograms to mark documents and monograms were often stamped in wax and used to seal important papers.  In the Middle Ages artists often used monograms to sign their work.  The monogram has long been a symbol of identity and privilege.

    Today a monogram can appear on almost anything.  From shirt cuffs to jackets, blankets to towels and almost anything else you can think of, embroidering monograms can lucrative for any embroidery business.   As customization becomes more and more the norm, consumers want the ability to mark a piece of clothing or an accessory as uniquely theirs.  Monograms are a fairly inexpensive way to meet that need.

    If you’re new to embroidering monograms, or want a refresher course on the basic rules of monogramming, here are some sites that can help.

    Rules of Monogramming

    Monogram Guidelines

    Monogram Placement Rules (PDF)

    Monogram Chick

    posted in Garment Decoration | 1 Comment

    19th January 2009

    Holiday Thread Palettes a Great Bargain

    Although it seems like Thanksgiving and Christmas make up the major holiday season, there are a lot of holidays in the first part of the year.  February brings Valentine’s Day.  March ushers in St. Patrick’s Day.   Easter shows up in April or May.   If you sell holiday embroidery, you may need a lot of holiday specific colors this time of year.  EnMart wants to help you save money on your holiday embroidery,  which is why we created EnMart Thread Palettes.  These are groups of thread oriented around a specific theme, and sold at a discount price.  If you do a lot of holiday themed embroidery, these thread palettes will save you money!

    Our thread palettes are made up of 5500 yard cones of Iris Ultrabrite polyester thread.  Each palette is organized around a specific theme or color family.   In addition to the Holiday Palettes,  we also offer Nature Thread Palettes, Shades of Color Thread Palettes and other thread palettes grouped around a specific event or theme.  Our Baby Gift Thread Palette and our Metallic Thread Palette are especially popular.

    At a time when the economy is causing many people to tighten their belts and scale back their spending,  it helps to find a bargain on embroidery thread you can use.   All EnMart thread palettes are composed of our standard Iris thread, and are made up of quality colors, not a list of colors that most people would not use.  We also clearly tell you what you get before you make your purchase.  There’s no grab bag element, where you pay a reduced price and take a chance on getting a color or two you might use.   You’ll know what you’re getting before you buy, which will help you make sure your purchase will be of benefit.

    posted in Thread | Comments Off

    13th January 2009

    Lessons from a Tradeshow Booth

    We just crated and shipped our trade show booth last night.  It should arrive later this week in California so we can exhibit at the ISS Long Beach show.   The booth is, as always, unique and interesting, and I highly recommend you stop by and see us if you’re attending the show.  We are also exhibiting some products that are new for 2009.  I guarantee it will be worth your time to stop in.  We’re in booth 2460.

    Putting together a trade show booth, like any major project, can be time consuming and exhausting.  It can also remind you how necessary a good team is to the survival of any business.  While the concept for the booth comes out of Marketing, the construction of all the items in the booth and the construction of the booth itself calls on expertise from many different departments.   We’re lucky to have a great team of very creative, talented people here, and we work together well.   That makes completing big projects that much easier.

    Constructing a trade show booth also points out the importance of good planning.  There are a lot of logistics that need to be managed.   Samples and collateral materials need to be packed.  Display items need to be constructed.  Everything needs to be moved to a central location to ensure that everything gets packed.  You have to be organized and you have to have a master plan.  If you don’t, everyone flails around and nothing of use gets done.

    Finally, putting together a trade show booth has taught us that you have to be flexible.  Even the best laid plans can go awry on occasion.   The idea that sounded so great in the concept stage turns out to be a dud on execution.   The item that absolutely had to go with the crate doesn’t get completed on time and will have to be shipped separately.  Someone measures something wrong and a design that should have fit suddenly doesn’t.  Being flexible and able to think on your feet is very important both for reducing stress and minimizing problems.

    We look forward to seeing everyone at ISS Long Beach and then at ISS Atlantic City in March.  If you need passes for either of those shows, or for ISS Orlando, we do have them available.

    posted in Trade Shows | Comments Off

    6th January 2009

    The Best Customer Service Lessons

    I’m currently waiting for a call back from a company, which shall be nameless, that was supposed to have shipped us something.  We ordered an item for our trade show booth and it still hasn’t arrived.  This marks the third request we’ve made to this company for a tracking number for our order, which they say has shipped.  This is also the third time that the response to our request has been “we’ll get back to you” and then a resounding silence.   The whole thing is getting annoying.

    One of my jobs for EnMart is to manage customer service and our relations with customers.   Like all companies, we are staffed with humans and we do occasionally make mistakes, but we try to keep those occasions to a minimum.  We also address our problems quickly and do all we can to put the situation right.

    Some of the best customer service lessons a company can learn come from the companies with which your company does business.  If you are new to the business world, or just want to improve your customer service, keep an eye on what other companies are doing.  You might discover a procedure that will help improve your customer service.  You also might, as we have in this case, learn what bad customer service is like and how frustrating it is.  If you take the lessons you learn and apply them to your own business,  you can at least salvage something from a bad experience.

    posted in About EnMart | Comments Off

    2nd January 2009

    Why Small Businesses Don’t Succeed

    (This week I thought we’d revisit some posts that have appeared on this blog over the past year.  I know we get new readers often, so I thought I’d point out some posts I thought shouldn’t be missed.  This post about why small businesses fail first appeared in March of 2008.)

    This post will cover a subject that no one likes to think about, but which many small businesses face, failure.   Depending on where you look, you can find statistics that claim that 90% of small businesses fail in the first five years.  Some articles or web sites will tell you that starting a small business is an extremely risky venture and, at times, those articles or sites would be right.  Many small business owners fall victim to common mistakes which end up causing their businesses to fail.  Avoiding those mistakes can help make sure your business succeeds when others are failing.

    Mistake #1:  Poor Money Management:  A lot of business owners think only about the freedom of owning their own business, they don’t consider they will also be responsible for making sure the business is profitable.  Make sure to keep careful records of all money that comes in and all money that goes out.  Have an emergency fund that can keep your business going should you have a few lean months. Make sure you have a qualified accountant who can review your record keeping and tax forms.

    Mistake #2:  Growing Too Fast: The big company down the street wants a huge order so you hire two more people.  Your best friend says you would make more sales if you had a storefront, so you rent space in a local mall.  Wanting to grow your business is a great thing, but you need to have a considered, measured plan for doing so.   Make sure you have realistic goals and that you are structuring your business around real world needs and not around your dreams for what your business could be.

    Mistake # 3:  If I Build It, They Will Come: Everyone who starts a small business begins with the rock solid belief that there are customers out there for the services they offer.  The business owners who prosper are those who actively go out and recruit those customers.  If you own a small business, part of your job is sales, whether you feel comfortable with that or not.  Just opening a business isn’t enough to get customers to spend money with you.  In order to succeed you have to provide great product, superior customer service and, most importantly, you have to keep reminding potential customers you’re out there.  Just having a business isn’t enough to convince people to buy from you, it is up to you to provide a compelling reason for them to do so.

    Mistake #4:  Failing to Learn From Mistakes:  Everyone likes to think they will start the only business in the world that will move from success to success.  It is a nice fantasy, but the reality is that you will make mistakes along the way.  You’ll underbid to get an order which will cost twice what it should have and eat up all your profit.   You’ll buy a piece of equipment that turns out to be a lemon.  You’ll hire a new employee even though your instincts tell you not to make that hire.  Every businessperson makes mistakes, the ones that survive are the ones that learn from the mistakes they’ve made.  The trick is to not be afraid to make a mistake, but to realize that mistakes are part of growing and that you will survive them and go on to additional success.  If you can master that thought pattern, your small business will be one of those that is likely to succeed.

    posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

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