Where you can learn business tips to help your product or brick and mortar business succeed
Enjoying an experience is key in the 21st Century – we’re constantly in search of the experience that we can live and relive, stories we can dine out on, that we can tweet or instagram about and update our social media status with, and for many that’s at whatever cost.
In this modern world, the contemporary small business person can tap into that, we can develop a boutique business that sells the customer experience alongside our products and services. Being boutique is a business model, one that sets itself apart from the hard-sell tactics that were common throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and noughties. If you love selling the experience and you want to set yourself apart in your business, this is the approach for you.
The foundation of the boutique business is in the details, the little things that you do. This can be from the clothes you wear to the business cards you use to the way you package your products and on to the little thank you notes you send when your transaction is complete. I remember shopping at Jo Malone when I started my business and I told the sales assistant that I was buying the candle for the launch – a couple of weeks later I received a handwritten card wishing me success with my opening night. I still shop with Jo Malone, even though their candles are expensive as a lot of my purchase is down to the little details!
Being boutique has so much to do with how you interact with your clients, how special you make them feel, how likeable you are to them (which often means how much you listen to them!) and how you give them the perception that you have allowed them into your ‘real’ life, just a little. The customers of a boutique business want to believe that the actions you take are specifically for them and their enjoyment. They want to feel special.
When you adopt a boutique business model you no longer need to compete on price because you have a USP that no-one else has – YOU! You are your own USP (unique selling point). You go the extra mile, you’re flexible about when you see your clients and where you meet them, and you deliver a personalised service.
Most importantly you don’t need to compete with those businesses that are price sensitive because you set yourself apart from the rest through the service ethic, the way in which you do business. The boutique business sells product, of course it does, but along with the product the boutique business sells an experience, of which the product is just one part.
Many people who set out as being boutique will give up this business model as it’s not an easy one to maintain – being boutique takes a lot of attention to detail, and it requires a lot of care and attention to clients. So if you’re the kind of person who gets irritated by a client asking something of you rather than accepting what you’ve put on the table, being boutique is not for you; if you find yourself discounting or competing on price, being boutique is not for you; if you are someone who isn’t interested in how someone feels about your business, again, being boutique is not for you.
But if you want to deliver something unique, if you love making people feel special, if you understand that the touch, the smell, the sound and the heart of what you do can impact on the customer experience then being boutique could well be the answer for building your successful business.
If you'd like to read more about being a boutique business, I love this book, Worth Every Penny. It is, in fact, worth every penny.
Hi I'm Zoe. I own Barley and Twist, an upholstery and vintage interiors business in Southport, Merseyside, UK and online as a Trouva.com boutique store. I'm a trained and experienced business coach having had clients worldwide, and I have experience of owning product-based, and brick and mortar businesses. Here I share my knowledge and experience with you so that you can learn from both my successes and my failures as you work on your business. Please note that at times I post affiliate links for products and services that I believe you will find helpful. This includes books and workshops that I have personal experience of.