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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:41
Hey there business animals, it’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:44
and Cara with Fast Horse photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:47
Welcome to The Business Animal podcast Cara and I have an interesting topic to talk to you about today. And I’m going to tell you a little bit of story of why this is one of my chosen topics of why I brought this up in our meetings. Years ago, I went to it was a conference for business consultants, basically that were affiliates of a certain product. And they had a keynote speaker that came on that I absolutely loved, I cannot remember her name, I should probably look that up at some point. And I listened to her keynote and since have like extrapolated one little small idea I got from the keynote into being something that’s much bigger in my own business consulting world. And what she said was every business has a unique asset, they have something that they’re known for, that truly sets them apart and makes them really different. It’s the secret sauce. It’s the guarded recipe, it’s the way that you do it here. It’s your patented magic. And the thing that I recognize in working with small businesses, literally 1000s of them every year is that some of them, or a lot of them actually, I don’t think ever become fully aware of their unique asset. And I don’t think they reach their potential because they don’t really capitalize on that. So that’s our topic for today. Cara, are you excited about this topic?
Cara Taylor Swift 2:13
I am I’m I’m just happy to be here today, actually, and this is a good topic. And it is something that I think a lot of small business owners don’t even think about, you know, they think about trying to be all the things or trying to put all the information out about their business. But if you can focus on your unique asset, you really stand out from the crowd.
Kimberly Beer 2:32
Absolutely. And I love what you just said about small business owners focusing on all the things right, one of the crazy things about marketing in particular is that the more that you try to include every little piece of things, the harder it becomes for you to build a business. And when you’re marketing, the more people that you’re talking to the harder it is for people to hear you. And that is a good point about having that unique asset for your business. Or actually, this conversation isn’t about having it, it’s about finding it then utilizing it
Cara Taylor Swift 3:09
putting it to work
Kimberly Beer 3:09
putting it to work exactly, exactly putting it to work in your business. So our big three number one is for you to find that what is the one most unique thing about you and or your business. And then our big three, number two is for you to assess that how or if you’re even using that asset at all at this point. And then finally, big three number three is how do you make your unique asset more prominent in your business, your marketing and your service? So let’s dive in. For me personally, when the speaker asked that question, what is your unique asset and I sat in that room all those years ago, I thought, my unique asset because I’m in a room full of business consultants, right? You could reach out in either direction and find a business consultants really easily. And I thought what makes me different from all of these people.
Cara Taylor Swift 4:03
And I would imagine that you have a lot of the same strengths and techniques and processes and those sorts of things. So it’s kind of like everybody in the room has this baseline of characteristics and things that they do that just kind of comes with it. So how are you different?
Kimberly Beer 4:20
What do I bring? What’s my patented magic that I bring to the situation? Because you’re exactly right. Every person sitting in that room pretty much offered the exact same service, and they may have had niches and target markets that were slightly different. But if you boiled us all down into one thing, it would be really easy to say this is what this roomful of people does. And as I looked around me I thought what what do I have that’s different, what is what is truly different about me and the immediate answer that came to me was my ranch. I came from a very different background than those other people in the room. It was in Arizona and it was in a very it was in Phoenix. So it was in a big city. And the people that were in the room came from all over the world, really. But the mass majority of them if I would say not all of them, they didn’t come from a small farm in Missouri. You know, I was the only person in the room that came from a small farm in Missouri, I was the only person in the room that probably was the second generation rancher on that small farm. So I brought all of this unique thoughts around my ranch. And I had already to some degree incorporated that, like I’d started writing about the fact that I always feel that ranchers are, you know, they’re some of the original entrepreneurs in growing food for a village or a community even in long ago, historic times that may have been like the only entrepreneur in town, and farmers also had to be sustainable. They had to think about the long term, they had to figure out how to do things in a production way, a lot of my business was centered around the lessons that I had learned over the years about being on this farm. And being that second generation child that was here with agriculture, and working in partnership with animals that were my team and understanding the sustainability of agriculture and how that really relates to small businesses. And it just started to explode in my head about Wow, that really is my unique asset in my business. And honestly, it’s wonderful that people can come here and experience the ranch and in conjunction with their business building. But truthfully, I carry it with me everywhere I go. And I bring it into everything that I do. And I hadn’t recognized that before that moment in time. And so it was a big realization for me. And it shifted a lot of things for me, which I’m very, very happy about when it comes to finding your unique asset for your business. Cara has some wonderful ideas for you about where you might go hunting for that if you’re sitting in your car or your tractor, or you’re listening at your desk and you’re going what is my unique asset? I don’t have an immediate answer for that question.
Cara Taylor Swift 5:38
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Well, this is a good place to start. So start thinking about things like your location in your community, are you the only person that’s providing services in that location? That might be simply a unique asset that you can start with. Do you have a unique service that you provide that your competition’s not providing? Do you have an exclusive product that you can offer that maybe isn’t available to other folks that work in your same industry? But another unique asset could just be you, your personality, the way that you like to work and your team, maybe you have a team and other businesses don’t have the option of having a team. Your reputation could also be another unique asset how people know you in the community. It could be that you provide services to a really small set of clients, maybe to a unique population. For example, I work strictly with horse owners. So for me in my community of photographers, a unique asset might be that I provide services to horses and their people. It could be that the way that you do business, your processes and your procedures might be very different than your competition. It could also be the types of equipment that you have access to or that you use. Maybe you do something really different in my community of photographers, for example, a unique asset might be that I can come on site and shoot and then show you your pictures right there on site. So that might be different from other photographers in my area. It might be that you have a really unique skill set a certification or degree that allows you to stand out from the crowd in your area and just adds a little clout to what you do. And it could also be your brand and the way that you do business or service, just that unique brand that’s strictly yours.
Kimberly Beer 10:11
Absolutely. And that unique brand. So when we were prepping for this episode, Cara asked me a little bit about that. And the way that I interpret this because I think for a lot of businesses, it is their brand. It’s how they show up and what they bring to the table. And for your business, for example, Cara, I see that for you, you have a very unique way of showing up for your clients. You’re their realist, but you’re also their cheerleader. The degree that you offer service to your clients is exceptional in a world of photographers that do offer already exceptional service. So to be the exceptional in the exceptional crowd is definitely a unique asset. But as we were talking about this, I explained a story of memory that I had. So my very, very, very first job that I really never talked about was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. I was a cook at McDonald’s. I didn’t know that about you. Yes, I was all of 15-16 years old, I don’t even think I could drive at the time. And it was a summer job. And it paid a crazy amount of money. I think it was like $2.50 An hour or something. But McDonald’s had a very unique way of doing business and that they’re one unique asset at the time now things have shifted a little bit, and they’ve changed their branding around. But at the time, it was fast. Like the way that they produced hamburgers was better than anybody else could do it. That was the one thing they did, everybody could depend on McDonald’s being fast. And the way that it happened back when I was a teenager was McDonald’s would like cook all of the food ahead of time, like I would make a big batch of hamburgers. And I would put them all together and I would stick them in these bins that had like a warming element to them. And then when you drove up to the drive thru, or came to the front thing, they would hand you your food, it was like immediate, it was like I ordered and boom, my food is in front of me, which back in the day was harder to get. And then Burger King comes along and Burger King capitalized on making their unique asset, something that McDonald’s couldn’t do very well, which was Have it your way, it was such a prominent part of their marketing because you could order your food and they would make it right then in there, like they put the toppings on the burger. And I noticed that very stealthily, if you were if you’re an old folk like me, you will have noticed that now McDonald’s has really adopted Burger Kings way of doing things because they now make everything sort of fresh to fresh todays. But But back in the day, when somebody had to order something special. Like if you didn’t want onions on your burger, it was the secret code to get your fresh burger, because that meant that I had to cook it completely from scratch for you while you waited, which sort of killed the whole unique asset concept. Because the burgers came with onions and all of the ones in the little bin that were waiting for humans had onions on them. So that might be a better way of looking at I know it’s not an Well, technically not an animal based business. But you can see how that way of doing things and the branding, how that became that unique asset?
Cara Taylor Swift 13:31
Well, I think the big part of that is just identifying, you know, what sets you apart. And for McDonald’s, that example you gave it was super fast. They were one of the first real fast food industry leaders. So what are the distinguishing characteristics that really set you apart in your animal industry? So start thinking about that. And I recommend, you know, one of the things that I think was super helpful for me is make a list of all the things in your business that you feel are unique. And then Kim and I were talking about this, and she says this is where you get to choose the one that makes you you, you know, but making that list and kind of going through and thinking okay, well, I’m different here and I’m different here and just making that list, do the activity of that. And then you get to, in some regards, choose what that unique asset is. Another good thing that I’ve done in the past is is solicit feedback from your clients, your past clients. And you can do this in a couple different ways poll them, you can contact them and ask them you can also you know ask for it in the form of testimonials. You know, when you’re requesting information about the service that you provide, you can tailor your questions in a way that you can help learn you know, what they really felt set you apart why they decided to work with you. And look for those things out there that you hear again and again about your business. So one of the things that I hear all the time is, you know, I’m blown away by your professionalism, you know, and your support through this process. That comes up again and again and again. And that to me, you know, it’s something that I think about, okay, so people really appreciate this part of it, maybe they’ve worked with photographers in the past that weren’t as professional. So your unique asset should really be unique to your business. So you’re looking for things that aren’t something that happens in your competitors business, it’s not something that you see routinely. So like Kim’s giving the example of sitting at this conference in a room full of coaches, and probably every one of those coaches had something in common, they had things that were routine as part of an average coaching business. So what you’re doing as you’re looking for that one thing that sets you apart, and it really needs to become a recognizable part of your brand, which I think moves us into big three number two, Kim, do you think
Kimberly Beer 15:46
Absolutely, And that one is assess how or if you’re even using that asset.
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So back in that room, I was not using this ranch as an asset at the time, particularly I was, like I said, I was only writing a few blog posts here and there about it. But what I discovered was when I started or when I guided sales conversations to my background in agriculture, and my background with land and nature, and horses, and all of those things, people really started to listen in a very, very perked up ear way, they were kind of mesmerized, because they’d heard it all before in these very businessy terms. But here we were talking about, you know, topics like how we do prescribed burning here on the ranch, and how it burns off all of this clutter that gets into a pasture. And what happens is, yes, there’s a lot of a lot of scarring and a lot of destruction. But in that destruction comes back life tenfold from what it was before the pasture was burned. So being able to use that as a metaphor for a business that feels like tired or cluttered, or I hear from a lot of small business owners, I am overwhelmed. You know, okay, so you’re overwhelmed, and you don’t feel like you’re growing. So let’s like burn away all of that stuff that has accumulated and let’s get some fresh growth in there. And it really does stimulate that. So So using the metaphors from the ranch, people really started to listen to me in a very deep and meaningful way that I got their attention. And I became memorable, which is when you’re doing marketing is like your number one goal, right? You want people to remember you for you.
Cara Taylor Swift 18:14
Well you set yourself apart and you found your audience.
Kimberly Beer 18:17
Absolutely. And when I go back into that community now of other businesses that do exactly what I do, they know me usually as the horse girl, I’ll tell you, one of the biggest differences I made is I’ve always been I wasn’t embarrassed of my agricultural background, but I always felt a little weird dragging it out in really high end business situations, right because I worked in a corporate job I felt like I needed to have on you know, like skirts and heels and dress really nicely and very businessy three piece suit attire. And that day was the day that I stopped showing up to a lot of my speaking engagements, the ones that I knew people weren’t going to freak out on me. I stopped showing up into speaking engagements in business attire, and I started wearing my jeans and coming in and in a nice shirt and jeans and clean boots. But it became part of who I showed up as and it was so much more authentic because you know me, Cara, you know me as that person right? Can you imagine me wandering around? And
Cara Taylor Swift 19:22
Yeah, I can’t picture you in a three piece suit
Kimberly Beer 19:23
Three piece suits and pumps and that kind of stuff. It’s not me
Cara Taylor Swift 19:27
Kimberly Beer 19:28
Yeah, and and so another big thing that I did in that moment that I changed was I changed my biopic, on all of my slides where I introduced myself, I changed it to me with the horse and it really sparked conversations in the room because when it flipped to me with the horse, and I’m sitting in this group of business owner business owners, right that I do a lot of instruction with city, very concrete jungle folks. And so I flipped to that and they see the horse and I can always see him go, what on earth? Is there a, why is there a horse in the room with us? And then I explain my background and about the ranch and it always brings up three or four people at the end of the presentation that either talk to me about their horse experience or talk to me about agriculture. So what I’m trying to get out with this number two is take that moment and see, are you really using your asset? And if you aren’t, why not? In my case, I was terrified. I thought these people are not going to take me seriously. If I show up with jeans on and a horse in my slideshow, they’re gonna be like, oh my god, she is some country bumpkin that doesn’t know jack about businesses and entrepreneurship. And I’m like, Yeah, I know it better because I have this, this is where I’ve been. So ask yourself for your own business. Where is that at?
Cara Taylor Swift 20:54
Yeah, I think it sounds to me, like also, you made yourself one of the more memorable people, you know, you were so unique and different that everyone knew who you were in a sea of a bunch of people that were very similar and trying to fit in and trying to be like everyone else, like you were the one that probably most people remembered, you know, you had that unique element. So that’s amazing, which I think rolls us into number three, how can you make your unique asset more prominent in your marketing and service? I mean, Kim started right away, she changed the way she dressed, she went back to how she wants to feel comfortable, she changed our marketing image to better, you know, clarify who she is. And that was a great place to start. But I think the biggest thing is you have to talk about it. So for Kim, she had to talk about the ranch, you know, she had to make that part of her story and the examples that she gives in the way that she teaches and coaches elements of the ranch came into that and the people that find you and gravitate to you appreciate that you have to write about it, you have to use them in your you know, repeatedly in your marketing. So you can’t be like a one hit wonder where you talk about it once and then hope that people remember it, it has to be a continuous presence in your marketing.
Kimberly Beer 21:04
Absolutely. Think back to McDonald’s on their sign. If you look at McDonald’s signs, I think even today, it says billions and billions served back when I worked there, it was like they would have a number that actually changed. But the focus hasn’t shifted off of that we do things fast, we serve lots of people food fast, that’s on their sign, it’s right underneath their logo, it’s something that has become a meme in our life long before memes were memes. It’s such a part of their brand that it becomes so ingrained in culture. And the same thing needs to happen for your business in that when you do find your asset, you do want to be remembered for it, you do want to make it a focal point. Because again, you don’t want to have the same old tired conversations that your competitor is having, especially if your competitor hasn’t quite realized yet that they have a unique asset and gone and done the work like you’re doing you’re 10 steps ahead of them if you start the conversation in a place that they never even get to. So I think that that’s a great plan in making it more prominent.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:15
Absolutely. So you’re talking about it, you’re writing about it, you’re using it repeatedly in the market. The next step is you need to have the people that you work with talking about it and recognizing and sharing it and it needs to come from them as well that word of mouth piece of it. So one of the ways that I do this is when I request testimonials, I ask questions that lead and encourage people to talk about the unique asset. So I’m not the only one that’s talking about it, you then have word of mouth and you have other people talking about your brand your business and what makes it unique. So I don’t know. Have you done much of that Kim, where you then have other people talk about your unique asset?
Kimberly Beer 23:54
Absolutely. I want testimonials about what it’s like to come here to the ranch and work with me and the horses in the Gestalt process. I want businesses to talk about my down to earth sustainable practices that I provide for entrepreneurs. I definitely yes, I asked leading questions that help people and also for the person who’s answering the questions and helps them identify why they chose me why they want to work with me. And I do think you want to see that overall in all of your business. When you’re choosing this unique asset, when you decide that that’s what you want to bring forth, make sure it’s something that is really something you love and are passionate about. And I also encourage you to seek in some of the darker corners like for me recognizing that my difference in the crowd was going to be something that I very much of it is authentically me but I didn’t bring out very often was a big wake up moment for me in my business. And over the years. I brought it in more and more and more and I keep expanding on the idea and and processing it further into my business. And so keep on looking to make it more and more prominent.
Cara Taylor Swift 25:09
Absolutely. And then the last little piece of that is we talked about in episode 58 competitive research, right? So if you miss that episode, pop back over there and take a listen to episode 58. But you should be doing competitive research because you want to know what your competition’s unique assets are, as well. And you want to see if they’re trying to copy your unique asset because once you take off and you’re doing some incredible stuff with your brand and your business, then you might find out that your competition is trying to piggyback on that a little bit. And there’s not necessarily much you can do about that as a business owner, but it gives you the knowledge so that you can keep building on that and growing and being the best that you can be in your market.
Kimberly Beer 25:51
Yep, you can dive deeper or go higher than the competition is on that particular topic
Cara Taylor Swift 25:57
because it’s unique to you.
Kimberly Beer 25:59
It is it is it’s a fun process to sit and examine your business for what exactly is the unique thing that you bring to the table? And I would love to hear from you guys, I know Cara would as well, what is your unique asset that you bring? What did you discover in the process of taking a few minutes or a few days or a few weeks even to think about how you show up in your for your target market? And what can you do to make that a really unique conversation in a world full of conversations that tend to repeat?
Cara Taylor Swift 26:35
That’s right, we want to hear from you guys. So hop over to The Business Animal on Instagram and Facebook and let us know what is your unique asset? What is the thing that sets your business apart in your community? We want to hear from you. Thank you guys so much for joining us today. Please don’t forget to like, follow, review. We need all of that for The Business Animal podcast. It helps us get seen by more folks that are out there trying to grow their business. So, thank you guys so much.
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