Ep. #1128 - How to Differentiate
In this episode of Startup Hustle, our founders are back together again! Tune in as Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson share an exciting conversation about how to differentiate in and for your business. Discover the elements that will make your company stand out and, in turn, help you better serve your clients.
Covered In This Episode
How can you differentiate your business in today’s highly competitive market? Differentiation involves creating unique and valuable products or services that stand out from the competition. Moreover, it is the process of identifying and communicating the unique qualities of a product or service that makes it different and desirable to customers. In other words, for your business to thrive these days, you need to stand out more.
Matt and Matt explore the various strategies and techniques businesses can use to differentiate themselves in their market. They also look at how companies can differentiate based on price, quality, features, customer service, branding, and more. In addition, Matt and Matt share their first-hand insights to help you differentiate your products or services and stay ahead of the competition.
Discover how to differentiate your business in this Startup Hustle episode.
- What makes your business stand out (00:10)
- Why differentiation is a big thing (02:16)
- How to differentiate your business from others (04:08)
- Types of differentiators (05:45)
- How to sell boring stuff (07:05)
- Make your ads stand out (08:12)
- Competitive pricing strategy (10:14)
- How the Matt’s started Full Scale (11:18)
- Brand identity and image are big differentiators (13:31)
- Other forms of differentiation: Innovative technology and processes disruption (16:27)
- Catering to unique customer needs (17:50)
- Personalization goes a long way in service provider businesses (21:05)
- Strong company culture and values (23:36)
- Some of the negative differentiators of businesses that are still in business (25:46)
- When your brand becomes the name for the actual product (26:39)
- Sustainability or social responsibility as a differentiator (30:23)
- Strategic partnerships and collaborations (32:32)
- Geographic differentiation is automatic today (35:42)
- Some examples for businesses that are geographically different (37:27)
Cost can be a thing like it can be, you can be doing the same thing as everyone else, or you can find a way to do it better, faster, and cheaper. Technically, that is differentiation as well.Matt DeCoursey
Almost no idea is unique, right? Like everybody you meet is like, oh, wish somebody should create this thing. Like, lots of people have this idea. And my favorite is the bad ideas that people just keep redoing over and over and over. Like, every month, I swear, I see another company that does something with medical records like there’s some new medical record software that’s going to solve the problem of getting your medical records. Somebody’s been trying to do that for, like, ever, and nobody’s ever succeeded.Matt Watson
I think the thing I want to say on the way to close out is if you want to differentiate, Be bold, man. Quit straddling the line.Matt DeCoursey
I think there are so many ways to differentiate yourself. I think the key is just not trying to be everything to everybody like that is not a differentiator. You got to be a specialist. I think about bird species, like every species of bird has a uniqueness to it. You know, and you just got to figure out what makes you unique.Matt Watson
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey, here with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt.
Matt Watson 0:07
What’s going on, man? We got to make our podcast stand out.
Matt DeCoursey 0:10
You know, I was just thinking the exact same thing. I was like, what makes us different? You know, it was interesting because I got a text message from someone last night that said that they met with a brand consultant and said, the brand consultant said we want to try to make you different, and not have boring and brand assets. And then they actually use our Startup Hustle logo as an example. Is that was a real real story here. And I said, at first it was a compliment. But then I read what was on the panel. I was like, well, we need to be different. But I asked her, I said, I said, So where did they come up with that? And the guy says, Oh, I just pulled the people that were off at the top of the listings. That felt like an oxymoron a little bit as if you want to be at the top of the listings, what’s wrong with the brand, but how do you stand out now actually, if you have found the Startup Hustle podcast, you notice that we just have a Startup Hustle logo on it, not our faces because Matt, as much as I’d like to speak differently. To this, no one knows what we look like his audio program.
Matt Watson 1:17
Matt has a face for radio.
Matt DeCoursey 1:19
Yet Well, a lot of people know what we’re what our faces look like, because they’ve been watching our social media stuff. And if you’re listening, I think you should too. Startup Hustle chat. You can follow all the hosts on our personal profile Startup Hustle on Instagram, or on the YouTube bunch of other stuff. We’ve been publishing all kinds of content. I mean, I even had a video that’s coming up on a 2 million view brow 2 million.
Matt Watson 1:41
Matt DeCoursey 1:42
It is crazy. So yeah, it’s probably seems like a good time to let everyone know that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Because hiring software developers is difficult and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Go to full scale.io to learn more. Anyway, that was a quick precursor to what we’re talking about how to differentiate. And you know, you hear me talk about this a lot. I’d say if you’re doing the same shit that everyone else is doing. It’s probably time to do something a little different. But differentiation is a big thing when it comes to selling branding and building your sales. Right?
Matt Watson 2:23
Well, it can be a little different, right? I mean, there’s a lot of people that sell hamburgers, McDonald’s isn’t the only one. They’ve got lots of competition. And I like to go to Shake Shack because their hamburgers actually taste good. Right? Right. There are a million reasons that can be different.
Matt DeCoursey 2:36
But McDonald’s differentiated back in the day, like if you’ve ever seen the movie, the founder with Michael Keaton, great show, if you haven’t seen it, I love it. And I’m not saying I’m like Mr. McDonald’s. But they differentiated because at the time, you would have to go to a drive thru. It took a long time they were actually serving your food on like, real plates, and stuff like that, where the difference with McDonald’s was you could walk up and it’s like, literally fast food. Yeah. So that was a differentiator. And that made a big difference. There’s a lot of things that are that are, you know, that you can do to stand out. I mean, some of it is really wild and creative to you know, some people’s form of differentiations just kind of being a lunatic.
Matt Watson 3:17
Well, yeah. You’re like, Dollar Shave Club is a good example of that, right? Like you’ve got, you’ve got some of these that it’s like, their whole brand is like they’re crazy marketing, but their product is probably about the same as everybody else’s.
Matt DeCoursey 3:31
Yeah. And you know, there’s, there’s 10s of millions of people doing so do there’s over a billion websites online now. That was a B, it’s a lot of numbers. Right. So how do you stand out? And, you know, like I said, there’s, there’s a whole lot of different ways you can do it. Like, I mean, Matt, when you look at the businesses that are well, let’s go back, let’s go old school. So you were one of the founders events, solutions, 100 $50 million exit. There’s a Wikipedia page about that and everything, but like, how did you start? How did you guys stand out? I mean, this was 20 years ago.
Matt Watson 4:08
Well, at that time, there was not a lot of SAS, like cloud based CRM systems for dealers. There was one other one that was our main competition, and they weren’t very big either. So the big differentiator for us was that it was cloud. It was cloud based. And we actually had we actually copied Salesforce, they had these little like red circle with the line through it that said, like, no servers, no hassle, like, I remember all they were, and we like, basically stole that same idea. Because a lot of our competition was still selling servers that they installed at a car dealership and stuff that didn’t do very good job with internet related stuff. And so we were very, very good at all things internet related, and we were also hosted on the cloud. So
Matt DeCoursey 4:53
So Well, speaking of differentiation, you know, chat GPT why a I was out there as kind of taking the world and so She’ll by storm. So I decided to ask it. What are some ways to differentiate number one was unique products or services? And I think that you were you were right in saying that. So your business it was the servers were really expensive for your competitors had I remember we’ve talked about that, you know, talking about this $50,000 commitment. And then you’re selling them to a car place, which doesn’t usually in 2003 2006 2010, have an IT guy. Well, like now they didn’t, then
Matt Watson 5:29
people also forget, forget that, like, 1520 years ago, when you would buy software, you’re like, Oh, I buy this software? And it’s like, $50,000. Yeah, it wasn’t like $200 a month, like you paid like these giant upfront fees and stuff for it. differentiator?
Matt DeCoursey 5:45
So the unique product or service, I mean, the costs, okay, so there’s a, there’s a differentiation there. And cost can be a thing like it can be, you can be doing the same thing as everyone else, or you can find a way to do it better, faster, cheaper, technically, that is differentiation as well.
Matt Watson 6:02
Yes. Things as simple as location is differentiator. Right, like, oh, we only focus on people that live in this area or whatever this country, you know, there are people that do what Uber does in other countries, true that are just not Uber. I mean, there’s a lot of ways to differentiate.
Matt DeCoursey 6:20
Well, I think one of the things that we’ve learned 1000 1000 Plus episodes later is that well, the people that invented the idea aren’t, I mean, oftentimes, if not, the majority of the times aren’t the people that actually take it big.
Matt Watson 6:40
Almost no idea is unique, right? Like everybody you meet is like, oh, wish somebody should create this thing. Like, lots of people have this idea. And my favorite are the the bad ideas that people just keep redoing, over and over and over. Like, every month, I swear, I see another company that does something with medical records, like there’s some new medical record software that’s going to solve the problem of getting your medical records. Somebody’s been trying to do that for like, ever, and nobody’s ever succeeded.
Matt DeCoursey 7:05
Well, but you find a way to do it differently. I was actually talking to someone that I’m not sure if that their episode will have been published, by the time this one comes out. So I’ll leave that blank. But you know, talking about how to how to sell boring stuff.
Matt Watson 7:22
I like boring stuff.
Matt DeCoursey 7:23
I know. And well, a lot of people sell boring stuff. In fact, most stuff is boring. It is they might not be boring to you, because you have a passion for it. But for the rest of the world, it’s fucking boring. So you know, some of that stuff is like you hear me say this a lot, man when it comes to differentiating your marketing your message and all of it lead with the need. And if you solve a problem that people are annoyed with, don’t be I think you shouldn’t be afraid to be, like, openly, like abrasive about it, you know, you’re like, this problem sucks. I’m tired of it. And if enough people have that problem, you’re gonna get their attention. And that’s a form of differentiation. I think that people try to be way too vanilla and plain and boring with their messaging and their approach like what you mentioned, Dollar Shave Club, all of their, all of their ads are always different and weird. You know, one of the things so MailChimp was a great has a great marketing case study. So when they came out, they, in order to differentiate they they intentionally always did. So they’d be like snail lamp, or something like they would always say their name wrong. And their ad along because it was kind of funny. Watching them do it. But it made Oh, yeah, it’s actually Mail Chimp, not snail wham, per, you know, like, you know, a bunch of different things, but it may it stuck in the head. And that’s all thing. So if you if you took the average newspaper, yeah, that’s an archaic thing. Did they still make those but if you took one, so inside the newspaper, and this is kind of an old school example. So I used to live in Washington DC and the the size of the The Washington Post every day gives you enough paper to wallpaper all surfaces inside most American homes. And keep in mind, that’s a two sided thing. So that’s just to cover it and you’d see one side so how do you make your ad stand out and something like that? Do something different? All right. So according to GPT, they they like they put at number two exceptional customer service and man in this day and age that would differentiate you.
Matt Watson 9:32
It’s a huge one. I mean, at my last company stack fi that was one of the ways that we differentiated against our competitors, is we we responded to most customer issues within one hour. Were a lot of our competitors would be like one or two days.
Matt DeCoursey 9:47
Did I have to actually put in a ticket to know that that was a thing or did you do any marketing or exposure that was related to that?
Matt Watson 9:57
I don’t know that we really promoted that very much but Uh, people definitely got it when they submitted tickets.
Matt DeCoursey 10:02
Why not? Why didn’t you promote it?
Unknown Speaker 10:05
As a good question? Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 10:08
I mean, if that’s like a real thing, and it’s taken a couple days, you know, like, Yeah, I mean, all right, how about competitive pricing strategy, talked about that a little bit with the unique part of it. But I mean, Dollar Shave Club was, you know, they’re getting a lot of free press, maybe you guys should send us some razors. The problem with razor blades is two companies own 99% of the market share. So they don’t really have good reason razor blades don’t need to be as expensive as they are. They’re insane. That’s why I grow a beard.
Matt Watson 10:38
Well, and so one part of it is the price, right? Like we charge a we have a premium product or a cheaper product or whatever. But can also be is it a subscription business or or not? It can be, you know, different types of delivery, how the product is packaged up is it sold monthly as you pay for it annually, like pricing and packaging is kind of its own different thing, right? It’s like, oh, I buy server hosting, but I pay an annual contract, and I get a real cheap, versus somebody else might be like, hey, I want something more, I only pay for the minute. I don’t shine, I want a different, like I wanted a different way. Right? So that’s the thing like sometimes pricing and packaging changes dramatically whole business model.
Matt DeCoursey 11:18
Well, we did this a little bit at Full Scale, when we started it. And that’s that’s the company that Matt and I own together. We help people build software teams. But you know, it’s so when we, we kind of went with the anti approach, we asked our employees and our first customers and our friends and peers what problems they had with offshore developers for our employees. We asked them what they didn’t like about the companies they work for. And we just did the opposite. Right, but one of the things that came up and so you know, at Full Scale, you can end your contract with 30 days notice. And we had a lot of people that were had had were hesitant to do long. And so a lot of our competition would make you sign a 12 month agreement. Right? Yeah. I don’t even know if this person’s a good fit for my team. And we and we looked at that. So we modeled our outward facing business for our internal needs and who we were, as we, let’s say, built by founders for founders, because I mean, I wouldn’t, you know, that’s a lot, a lot of commitment. And so, you know, we said, well, if you don’t think it’s the right person, for your team, we don’t want them on your team, either. We’re not gonna stick into your long contract with that. So
Matt Watson 12:28
your contract terms is a big one, right? Depending on who you’re doing business with. And another one that is related to Full Scale and sacrifi. Both was pricing predictability, right? When people buy something, they want to feel comfortable knowing like, I understand what I’m paying. And I don’t magically get a bill that’s for more than that. Right. And
Matt DeCoursey 12:47
well, we did that at Full Scale, too, because it’s a set monthly price for a full time person. Now if they don’t work full time, we will give you some money back. But we don’t charge for overages. And a couple of competition does. Yeah, so a lot of it’s like hourly. And the problem is, is no one wants that surprise invoice, no one wants to find out that their team can’t work the last month of the last week of a month or a quarter because they’re at that limit or that budget. And that’s not good for that I wouldn’t good for employees either, because they just want to come to work and get wins, you know, so like, let’s make this predictable. Let’s make it flexible. And, you know, and by the way, I mean, we grew an inc 5000 company in under five years that has 300 employees. So I’d say that it works.
Matt Watson 13:30
Yeah, depending on the industry you’re in and the product service that you have. There’s a lot of different things about pricing and packaging, that can be a big differentiator, we’ve we’ve covered a few of them.
Matt DeCoursey 13:41
How about strong brand identity and image?
Matt Watson 13:45
I think that’s really important from the perspective of if I have a problem, who do I think of right? Like I think of this company to solve my problem, right? Versus if nobody knows who you are, and you’re not well known for a certain thing, you’re just not going to just not gonna be top of mind or you do too many things that nobody thinks of you because you just do too many things.
Matt DeCoursey 14:05
Well, it’s like when you think of GE, like, I think a light bulbs. Yeah, I do too. What else because there are no days, they make more than just light bulbs. They do a lot of things. But now it’s a strong brand, but I’m not sure the identity and the image of it goes past the light bulb for me.
Matt Watson 14:22
Yeah, that’s a great example of that. Right. Right. Now, when you think of Gillette, what do you think of razor blades? Correct? Right.
Matt DeCoursey 14:32
So that’s a lot more specific, right? Yeah, absolutely. Makes you think of hamburgers
Matt Watson 14:39
and relates to all sorts of tools, right? You hear like a HubSpot or you know, some kind of different slack or whatever like different brands that are well known. It’s like you immediately understand like, Oh, I know what they do. And if I ever have that problem, I know exactly like they would be a perfect solution for this.
Matt DeCoursey 14:53
I would actually argue on the slack thing because I think most people like in general, like humans on the planet, have no fucking clue what’s Like us people, I think people and in our in our niche of technology and software and some of that habit.
Matt Watson 15:08
But yeah, I’ve got a bonus my wife was like is
Matt DeCoursey 15:12
our mind? Well, but for them, a lot of that, so like, well, so my wife sent in a couple of slack groups that are like Publix with like a ton of people in it. And so but it gives a different impression of like, what slack is or what have you that yes, it can be used for that. But that’s not the only thing. So but you know, you’re talking about brand identity, and we’re gonna use we’ll use Full Scale for this again, like this was a big thing for me over in the Philippines because a lot of people that wanted to come work for us did well, we, we wanted to shatter the startup moniker. Because there the term startup was maybe not associated with the same positive or favorable things in America, and then unstable, potentially unstable, and all of that. So what we found is our hiring competition, oh, that’s a startup. And I’d say go back and ask them how many employees they have. And they had they’d had 20. I’m like, we have 212 are now 300. You know, some of that got a little easier over time. And I think also, we could talk about the Startup Hustle brand. Did we just now you and I just gave it how many people? Did you have people coming up and talk to you about Startup Hustle when we were at the Keystone business district the other night? Absolutely. Yeah. It’s like, I mean, everywhere I go, I was at we were at, hey, Lauren turned 40. Yes, we were at her party. And I’m sitting there talking to someone in the kitchen. And a lady standing next to me goes. So I was just standing here and I was like, God, that guy’s voice is really familiar. And then I realized that you’re this your mouth from Startup Hustle, which also shows a lack of the image part because you clearly didn’t recognize us. We have the same problem that NFL players have now. You don’t see the face to face. So. Okay, so other forms of differentiation, I think for a lot of startups, you talk about innovative technology and processes. disruption? I mean, it gets the attention like Ubers a great example, because Uber destroyed the cab business in most places.
Matt Watson 17:22
Yeah. I mean, a good example of this do
Matt DeCoursey 17:26
tick tock is yes. But at the same Yes, I agree. But at the same time, it did. Well, I mean, that I just had it’s crossed 2 billion daily users. So I’m not sure if it really did the same thing. But I mean, would you want to start a cab company right now?
Matt Watson 17:44
I know a guy in Kansas City who is good luck. Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 17:50
So yeah, another Okay, looking back at history. So what NAT remember when Napster was out? Oh, yeah. And like just cloud music in general. It’s like, I mean, dude, if you can find a record store, now it’s a nostalgic thing they’re selling vinyl is like a collector’s item. It’s not well, actually,
Matt Watson 18:09
they sell them at Best Buy, but they don’t The Best Buy doesn’t sell CDs anymore. But they do sell vinyl.
Matt DeCoursey 18:15
So when I worked, I used to work for Roland. That’s the world’s largest maker of electronic musical instruments. And when I worked for them, so that was back in 2007 and 2008 ish, maybe, I don’t know, in those times two years. And we were in conversations with BestBuy because BestBuy saw the CD going away. And that was like a third of their floor space. Because you had all the bins and other shit and they even had cassettes still and like, like a lot of that stuff was fading out. But they weren’t. They didn’t know. They’re like, what then the reason they were talking to us is because they’re obviously desk by sells electronics. So should we be bringing Roland gear in here selling keyboards, digital drum sets and stuff like that. And that never panned out, because that would have required complete retooling of the dealer agreements that they had with actual stores that sold these instruments. So yeah, but it was weird. But yeah, you look at these things change over time. And you know, Best Buy ended up they ended up doing a lot more appliances. Because at the time, they weren’t big sellers of like refrigerators and dryers and stuff like that. So yeah. All right. This next one on the list is where I think that Full Scale is done this I’m realizing we’re doing we’re doing well with differentiation, a personalized approach to customers needs. I feel like that’s all we do like and once again, today’s episode Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Go there, click the button that says hire developers and there’s a two minute forum. Afterward we can let you into our portal where you can search for people that you want, but we won’t even sign you up as a client unless we talk to you we want to get to know you. We want to tell give you literally the best advice advice that we can that pertains to you and your success, not just ours. But that personalized approach has gone a long way, in my opinion.
Matt Watson 20:08
I talk to people every day, every day entrepreneurs every day, so I love having those conversations.
Matt DeCoursey 20:13
Right. And but but as, as businesses and founders, we are snowflakes and unique and there’s not a one, there’s not a one size fits all solution. And then the thing is, is it’s in the end our clients and our employees and our best interests to talk about the solutions that we feel are personalized to their issues to their to the persona of their companies, to the skills and technology they use. And then the thing is, is a lot I talk to people all the time that have never considered two, three or four options that I’ll throw out there as far as team chemistry goes and stuff like that. Right?
Matt Watson 20:52
Yeah, I mean, we do a good job of helping educate them about some of them how to run a development team, how that’s personalized.
Matt DeCoursey 21:01
You know, we say, hey, look, we’ve seen success with this approach for these reasons or consider this and, and some of that, like, well, it was it was the it was early in FullScale.io. History. And, and you and you Matt Watson and the team at stack if I helped us build what became like a core pillar, we’re like, hey, we don’t want you to get rid of your local team to find the best people you have. And then add three or four or five people from Full Scale to work around that person. And you have this beautiful little hybrid model that works. And you tell people that they’re like, Wow, okay, that makes sense. I think we could do that for these different reasons. And then like another one, too, is you look at like, the Site Reliability thing. So you talked about the personalized nature, how happy was your team? When you added people that worked in opposing timezones?
Matt Watson 21:54
Absolutely. So somebody else could do on call and deploy software at night, stuff like that? Absolutely. So they didn’t
Matt DeCoursey 22:00
show up to work. I remember talking to your team, I said, What’s the best part about this, this opposing schedule? They said, We don’t show up every day to 40 tickets. And that’s the first thing we have to do when we get to work. Yep. Because that day, I’m dreading going to work today, because no one’s been responding to any of this stuff for 15 hours, and that’s not great. So yeah, not personalized. I think that goes a long way. I’ve talked to a lot of service provider type businesses about this over the years, like his, you know, get someone to come bid on landscaping, or a deck or something like that. And it’s kind of like, I don’t know, like, give me a very personalized approach. Like, I would ask questions, you can Okay, so we live in Kansas City, which is basically the Kansas and Missouri State Line. I’m a Kansas Jayhawks fan, and not a Missouri fan. If you want to come plant a bunch of yellow and black flowers and my front bed, I’m gonna be like, dude, I’m not a Missouri Tigers fan. Like if you came and I would ask questions like that, I say, hey, you know, are you a KU fan? Because that’s another thing I you if you’d be easy to use if you took that approach. And I knew that I had Flora growing in my front yard that represented the teams or likes or colors, that’s a personalized approach.
Matt Watson 23:21
Well, and you also have a whole economy of personalization of like personalizing gifts and things. Oh, yeah, Etsy, all that kind of stuff. That’s like its whole other economy as well. My wife has all ended that kind of stuff.
Matt DeCoursey 23:36
All right, so next on the list, strong company, culture and values. This is hard to do in some places. Well, you can have it internally. It’s hard to it’s hard to sometimes differentiate outward with this. But some companies, you know, do a great job. Well, I this at Full Scale, we take a portion of our revenue, and it directly goes to community outreach. We give money to schools and computer programs and like we even adopted a fucking Eagle. We named it ended up getting named C sharp, by the way,
Matt Watson 24:08
in some, in some ways this could be it’s more of a negative differentiation than a positive differentiation, right? Like you get you get the PR of how bad your company culture is
Matt DeCoursey 24:19
Ticketmaster, a huge negative called orange or the way you like Ticketmaster is one of the most hated companies in the world.
Matt Watson 24:26
Yeah, they add 30% to the price of tickets, by the way,
Matt DeCoursey 24:29
which by the way, most of that goes back to the artists, not Ticketmaster, but Ticketmaster stands up and takes the arrows. They’ve just owned the fact that they’re hated.
Matt Watson 24:37
All right, because I was I was trying to buy Superbowl tickets and the 20 or 30%. They tack on at the end as a surprise is that should be against the law,
Matt DeCoursey 24:49
you can click a button that asks to show the price with the fees. So you actually don’t get that surprised. But yeah, I was a ticket broker for years you worked one for one for a while. That’s not that problems are not going away. But no the strong company culture and values, you know, we use Uber as an example before Uber actually has it has a reputation for how I don’t know if they fix it for having have a terrible company culture. If you watch super pumped the which I recommend you like that, and you know, it was it it was amazing. It was very good, really good, really insightful. And it did not hold back on the bad shit. It
Matt Watson 25:25
was a shit show. Yeah, so
Matt DeCoursey 25:27
it was it was very misogynistic. It was very bro driven. And then what really? So when Travis Kalanick, signed on as one of Trumps Economic Advisors, a whole campaign of delete Uber started and they lost, like a third of their users. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that that’s a great example of well, that you might differentiate, but that wasn’t, that wasn’t
Matt Watson 25:52
again, there’s definitely there’s a few negative differentiators.
Matt DeCoursey 25:56
Yeah, my pillow guy?
Matt Watson 25:59
Hey, you know, maybe maybe that’s a good differentiator for him? I don’t know.
Matt DeCoursey 26:02
I don’t know, man. He is it?
Matt Watson 26:04
I don’t know. Yeah, pulled in must work everywhere,
Matt DeCoursey 26:07
everywhere. Are they still in business?
Matt Watson 26:10
I don’t know. Maybe
Matt DeCoursey 26:13
expertise or specialization in a specific industry or market?
Matt Watson 26:17
I feel like, I mean, most people have that right. Like you have to have that there are some there are some businesses that are cross vertical, right? Like we are Salesforce, and we serve all verticals or whatever, right? But a lot of products are vertical specific. And like my first company was an automotive only an automotive like you’ve you’ve got to have expertise in a vertical usually.
Matt DeCoursey 26:39
So at the last school that I dropped out of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, which by the way is a top 20 Business School, but they know a couple things. They were always pushing this so like when your name Alright, so if I said give me a Kleenex, you know what I mean? Right? Yeah, but you’re not gonna give me an actual Kleenex brand Kleenex every time right? No, that’s a facial tissue. Right so some of that that’s I think that’s where this kind of comes in because in this seat felt weird for me and I still I think about this occasionally when I when I ponder but you know it when you’re when your company’s name becomes the name of the brand or the product that’s apparently a really bad thing. Because it’s not like give me a Kleenex brand. Kleenex Xerox was another one.
Matt Watson 27:29
You actually lose the trademark.
Matt DeCoursey 27:31
You will you know, you kind of lose it but you just it’s so general in that regard that you I mean, it’s like hey, now I’m sure I feel like that probably someone’s like, hey, get a Xerox machine.
Matt Watson 27:43
And then some don’t get zero I know they
Matt DeCoursey 27:45
go through I feel like it’s a lot of cases they go straight to Xerox, so I don’t know I kind of debate that one but but so what about Walmart? I mean, what is Walmart just specialize in like having low prices and a lot of ship to buy is that they’re
Matt Watson 27:59
pretty much I worked there. You did? I did. I worked at Walmart in high school.
Matt DeCoursey 28:06
You worked at Sears too? I did. I was still in business.
Matt Watson 28:10
I think they still sell some appliances.
Unknown Speaker 28:13
Matt DeCoursey 28:16
I noticed the Kmart house Kmart done I think it’s gone. There might be a few of them you know there’s still a blockbuster one there’s one left.
Matt Watson 28:26
There was still at Toys R Us in the Philippines. Last true
Matt DeCoursey 28:30
I was actually on it recently. Now you bring it up I forgot that there. How is that possible?
Unknown Speaker 28:36
I don’t know. I wouldn’t
Matt DeCoursey 28:37
I bet they have a foreign branch that didn’t go bankrupt. Geoffrey the giraffe looks so sad on his last day out I’ve ever seen like he really guy the giraffe costume walking out hanging his head shuffling his feet. I mean the The struggle is real but well okay, so we mentioned some monsters there. How about Amazon? Amazon differentiated with the fast delivery time? The the ease of purchasing right like that was a big change you want to talk about disrupting all of it? I mean shit dude. Look at how many places struggle or want to deliver quickly.
Matt Watson 29:19
Well no and and tag onto that is easy returns. Like my wife buys random shit on the internet gets mad if she can’t return it. And I’m like, every time I’m like, so I like buying from Amazon. I know I can return it no questions asked.
Matt DeCoursey 29:32
Dude, I’m so bad at returning stuff. Even when I can? Yeah, no. I’m really not good.
Matt Watson 29:39
You knew that. I am too. Oh,
Matt DeCoursey 29:43
okay. So it’s not just me.
Matt Watson 29:44
And and using gift cards here. See my gift cards have been sent on my desk for months. I never it’s funny.
Matt DeCoursey 29:49
You mentioned that because look I have because here’s a whole here’s five years five. I know these were credit card rewards and my house has been painted. You They moved a bunch of stuff. And I saw this. I was like, what is that? And I picked this up. And I was like, Whoa, is there a credit card in this? Yeah. And I opened it up and apparently I’ve got $500 in there. $250 worth of those gift cards. Yeah. So I put them somewhere else that I’ll forget about them. I hope they don’t expire. They’re my Okay, sustainability or social responsibility, responsibility that stands out. I think that there’s a lot of companies that specialize in environmental solutions. I mean, our CO hosts Lauren and her business innovate her casey.org are known as.com.com always fuck that up. But you taught me in doubt is a differentiator in some ways. I also see brands like I own a pair of shoes that from Adidas that are made from ocean waste,
Matt Watson 30:48
Matt DeCoursey 30:50
I just, I mean, I bought them because yeah, that was a differentiator. Like, thank you. Sure. I’ll support that.
Matt Watson 30:58
It’s similar to that. You have companies that do that, like buy one give one kind of stuff like you buy a pair of socks. We give a pair of socks. Yet
Matt DeCoursey 31:06
my dad Jeff, we had her on the show. Remember the bear? Yeah. Yeah, that was a bad one. Kind of get a bunch of a bunch. I think I bought one and gave three. Oh, wow. Yeah. Jeffrey, you’re out there, man.
Matt Watson 31:20
Yes, this sustainability is, I think, a big topic in some industries and other industries. It just like, sort of doesn’t exist.
Matt DeCoursey 31:30
Some of that’s hard man. Like, I mean, it was Rachel Cohen. There was no it was my bare Jeff. And, you know, that’s, that’s really hard. That’s those are the kinds of founders and people to do stuff like that. Always. Thank them. I’m like, thanks for doing the shit that I’m, I won’t do that with Lauren. You know, like, I don’t know. I mean, it’s just like, but those are tough businesses, man. Because like, I like when I hear not for profit, especially it just doesn’t compute for me. And I’m like, Well, how do you pay bills? What happens? What do you got to do like?
Matt Watson 32:04
And some of those nonprofit companies are, I don’t want to call them a scam, but they’re almost a scam
Matt DeCoursey 32:10
would do that? Well, I don’t want to mention them. Because I’m not I’m not prepared to have data. But some of those things, you’re right, like you the money you end up sending, like, basically just employs a bunch of people at that place. And then like a, like a little slice of it goes somewhere else. Yeah. So. Okay, so I liked this last one on less strategic partners and collaborations with other businesses and organizations to for me, Don, I’m already on this this year, because I one of the things on my list, that was a big thing for Startup Hustle, especially, I want this to be the year of the collaboration.
Matt Watson 32:49
Well, and so in a lot of industries, you have system integrators or installers, you know, different kinds of channel partners, right? Think about buying like, like almost lots of things for house like the guy that the people that sell Pella windows or like whatever the Windows is, like, there, there are differentiators, there are a certified installer for this thing. Like there’s a lot of those kinds of businesses do.
Matt DeCoursey 33:12
Yeah, and you know, the strategic partner, the collaboration thing, you really see a lot of stuff, like, especially, like I see it all the time in fashion. And you know, it’s like this brand and this brand, make this and, and they sell a bunch of shit. You know, it’s popular, it’s fun, and incorporates the identity and brand of both both collaborators. And there’s, I mean, even looking at every certain amount, I published a video on Instagram, and you were a collaborator. And that means that if you accept that that same video will show on your channel and like I was just talking to our friend Eric Perkins, the Perkins builder brothers about that, and you know if you can and that’s why I said like, find the find the people that are into your cars that are in your lane that are going in that same direction, whether they’re ahead of you, or behind you behind you and lead and form Voltron man do something that I say that and I just immediately had the pause because I was talking to someone way younger than me. I use the Voltron reference. But his vault arrangers. Yes, what he said he’s like, Oh, so it’s like the Power Rangers. I was like, No, it’s not. It’s not a
Matt Watson 34:24
good example of that collaboration was Adidas and Kanye. Until it didn’t work
Matt DeCoursey 34:30
well, bro that worked out that worked out for both of them and tell dude, when you Kanye, I work I have a bunch of Yeezys dude my kids have Yeezys and like I feel weird wearing them and it’s not I mean, cuz your opinions don’t affect my feet. But I gotta talk to people about frickin Kanye when I was just like shit. But yeah, these are things you know, find a way to collab find a way to support these things matter and And, you know, I, I’ve said this before, I think one of the best ways to move up is to look up and ask the people that are already on top to pull you up?
Matt Watson 35:11
Well, I think people that are thinking about being an entrepreneur, that sort of being like a channel partner, system, integrator installer certified whatever, for these types of things is great. Like, I know somebody who does this for like a big content management system. And all he is he’s like one of their certified, you know, integration partners or whatever. And they just bring him business. You know, like, that’s a great way as an entrepreneur to is to partner with somebody that brings you business and you’re the certified integrator installer, stuff like that.
Matt DeCoursey 35:42
Yep. So here we are at the end of the show. I mean, what are we there’s one thing that that I thought of, so you mentioned like geography, sometimes differentiation becomes automatic. Today, it was answer. So in every state other than the one we live in, you can buy cannabis legally now.
Matt Watson 36:02
Everyone except Kansas. Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 36:05
Yeah. So the lack of differentiation by Kansas is
Matt Watson 36:10
you mean with from a short drive from here, not nationwide?
Matt DeCoursey 36:14
Know that all the states that touched Kansas, okay. surrounding us, okay. But that’s a geographic differentiation. And it’s also kind of stupid of Kansas, because I can just drive two miles to Missouri, and by cannabis there and put all my revenue and tax dollars and tax and all of that, like, in some cases, it’s just like, quit being stubborn. You know, and I say that, but that’s geographic differentiation. It just comes automatically. Hey, look. Now on the flip side of that, all those places in Missouri, they probably don’t want Kansas to open it up. Maybe they do. Maybe they’re just going to open branches or stores there. But I’m just saying it’s like, me, Colorado did that. And in Colorado just has like one of the best revenue models and like they had to give the people of Colorado money back a couple years ago, because they had so much tax revenue coming in from Weed because they they had that geographic differentiation. Yep. Yep. You know, so like, and that’s just one example. And then sometimes it’s like, I mean, if you’re trying to open a water park in Maine, that might not be the best place to geographically differentiate, but you might be the only one in Maine who
Matt Watson 37:27
might you might might be the best place in the world for an indoor waterpark.
Matt DeCoursey 37:32
True. See, now you’re.
Matt Watson 37:36
you’ve ever heard of the Wisconsin Dells?
Matt DeCoursey 37:39
Because I bought cheese curds? What did they do? The indoor waterpark.
Matt Watson 37:44
There’s like I want to say there’s like 10 of them or something. There’s like a whole city of them.
Matt DeCoursey 37:49
I stopped in the del swans because everyone was talking about cheese curds, like I used that was part of my sales territory. And I like cheese. So I stopped. I bought some cheese curds out there. Alright, you know? Yeah, I did. But I wasn’t like blown away with it. But yeah, I remember there was like, there was a lot, there was a lot there. That is definitely a cheese driven economy at the Dells. It’s like a bunch of cheese stores and attractions and stuff. So but sometimes that differentiation is what pulls people in, you know, you see a lot of things like, and I think that, you know, we’ll kind of round out this episode, you look at it. So I’ve noticed a lot of the like, outdoor retailers, like you have shields and Bass Pro Shops, like shields has a Ferris wheel a full size, carnival ferris wheel inside it. And I know that because I got a budget for my kids to write time. And $3 for a token for each of us to get on that thing and write it but you know, it’s like I said, it’s that it’s the experience. It’s in the store. They have all kinds of like, just like a talking robot of Abraham Lincoln and like reading something and like, a lot of things and it’s an attraction, but a differentiates them from a place like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which just has sporting goods, right. Finally, old x finally succeeded at buying decks.com by the way. Oh, wow. I wrote about that in my book about poorly planned business names. Because for a while if you went to index.com it was not the sporting goods place. Trust me. I learned that lesson. I was like, Whoa, that is not baseball equipment. But yeah. But at the same time, not a not a terrible name. You kind of think about it and you chuckle your call. So alright, well speaking of decks, they have that that restaurant chain where they’re rude to you. Like that’s their whole whole shtick. I haven’t seen that. It’s called Dick’s last resort. Anyway, maybe we’ll just won’t talk about decks anymore on the show. So, all right, if finally happened less than 100 episodes later Matt sorry I broke the brand standard there accidentally but no but with that and I think it’s a good place to close actually like have a brand standard have some have some ideals have have your brand get push with it. I think the thing I want to say on the way to close out if you want to differentiate Be bold man quit straddling the line. Like we mentioned my pillow and Okay, so that guy certainly is in business because there’s a lot of people that are like that hardcore supporter of Trump that are probably talking about him at all by the students pillow all day. We’re talking about him. Right? Yeah. And now with that probably cost him a lot of business too. But who knows? Who knows? I don’t know if the internal workings on that. So you got the comments on the way out?
Matt Watson 40:48
I think there are so many ways to differentiate yourself. I think the key is just not trying to be everything to everybody like that is not a differentiator. You got to be a specialist. I think about like bird species, like every species of bird has a uniqueness to it. You know, and you just got to figure out what makes you unique.
Matt DeCoursey 41:06
What’s your favorite bird, not? The ostrich does. It differentiates with the head in the sand? For sure, there you go. See, it’s everywhere, people. I’ll catch up with you down the road.