Think back to a time not so very long ago, when local storefronts on Main Street USA were the only retailers in town in which to buy goods and services. If your family business has been in operation for some time, the competition it faced many years ago was likely manageable, located within the same geographic region that was central to your location, and easily identifiable.
However, in a world now driven by digitalization, technology, and innovation, the pace at which your competition can launch and compete for your customer base continues to grow for nearly every industry. In fact, according to Small Business Statistics [Guide to Success in 2022], there are over 30.2 million small businesses in the United States and more than 600,000 new businesses that launch each yearˡ. Couple that with the fact that nearly all Americans now see around 10,000 ads per day² and it is arguably getting crowded in all industries and retail spaces.
Set yourself apart.
In order to thrive in this highly-competitive environment, new and existing business owners need to find ways to be creative, authentic, and engaging. “Differentiation in the marketplace is key to getting noticed and staying competitive,” said First Bank’s Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Wiese. “Consider your customer and what they need from your organization. Determine how you can stand out from the crowd within the parameters of your own unique product and marketing budget. If you’re new to the business space, how can you set yourself apart?”
California-based female entrepreneur and founder of Unite Food, Clara Paye, said this of launching a protein bar business at the height of a pandemic, “With my business, I wanted to create something authentic and category-creative. At Unite Food, we strive to use food as an instrument of inclusion for all cultures.”
|Pictured Above: Entrepreneur and Founder of Unite Food, Clara Paye.|
Paye reflected fondly on the flavors of her childhood. “When I went to the store to buy a protein bar for energy and nourishment, all I saw was blueberry, some variation of chocolate or lemon, and on repeat,” she explained. Immigrating to the United States at the age of five, Paye remembered thinking, these are not the flavors of my childhood. She asked, “Where’s the diversity in wellness? Where are the bars that represent all of the unique heritages, like my own?” This sparked her unique protein bar business model to bring to a space that is saturated, competitive, and crowded. In a world where not many founders looked like her, Paye set out to prove something that is now often said at Unite Food, “Diversity is Delicious.”
Formulating the first prototypes in her own kitchen with her children by her side, Paye went to work using only wholesome, natural ingredients that provides quality nutrition and high-protein in flavors that are diverse and unique.
Now, just a few years later, Paye is shaking up the protein-bar aisle with her protein bars that are being sold by major retailers, like Walmart® and Sprouts® Farmers Market, nationwide. Inspired by global flavors and sourced from the finest ingredients, her protein bars are are gluten free, soy free, kosher, and free from artificial colors and flavors. “My mission is to build a bigger wellness table and to invite more people in,” said Paye.
Invest in digital and the community.
Wiese commented that standing out from your competition certainly means focusing on customer service and offering a differentiated, quality product or service; however, it also means casting a bigger net by advancing your digital or online presence, widening your social media networks, learning how to attract and engage clients using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods, and focusing your philanthropic efforts on organizations that support your organization’s values and mission.
She continued, “Thanks to technology, customers today are more educated and knowledgeable on the products and services they want and need before they ever step foot into your business or visit your online storefront. They often know your philanthropic mission as well as the products, services, and pricing they could receive from your competitors.”
With her distinct perspective, Paye has found success in her uniqueness and authenticity by offering a quality product that doesn’t exist in the marketplace today. “We worked hard on colorful packaging that tells our story and stands out from the rest,” she said. In addition, her company is active on various social media networks, like Facebook and Instagram, and out serving the community. “We’ve donated hundreds of thousands of protein bars to various organizations worldwide, including the war zone areas of Ukraine.”
In addition, Paye is active in assisting other minority business leaders through co-founding the collaborative membership organization titled, (Included), which is a community of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) founders and chief executive officers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. She added, “I would encourage other business leaders to celebrate your uniqueness and own your own story.”
Join First Bank’s first female Chief Executive Officer Shelley Seifert in the Webinar: Ladies Who Lead: A Discussion on Leading with Confidence & Overcoming Challenges.
Focus on the needs of your customers.
“Like Unite Food, First Bank’s story is one of authenticity and stands out from the crowd. First Bank’s story started over 100 years ago and has continued to evolve and grow with an intense focus on serving clients with superior products and solutions,” Wiese added. “Although First Bank has been serving family-owned businesses since its inception, we did something that our competitors simply weren’t doing and that’s serving family-owned businesses with holistic services, like educational programs, resources, and our first-hand knowledge.”
Earlier in 2022, First Bank launched the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses to share our experience as a fourth-generation, family-owned resource for other like-minded family business owners and leaders. “This initiative was part of our long-term goal to holistically serve family-owned businesses in every aspect of their organization outside of traditional banking parameters,” continued Wiese.
Read, “Family Businesses Can Learn A Lot From Each Other”.If you’re interested in learning more about growing a long-term, sustainable business and getting noticed in crowded spaces, consider joining a webinar, perusing the growing library of content, or by reaching out to the knowledgeable team at the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses.
ˡ Deyan Georgiev, 2022, May 12. Small Business Statistics [Guide to Success in 2022]. Review42.
²Nadia, 2022, May 13, How Many Ads Do We See a Day? Siteefy. siteefy.com/how-many-ads-do-we-see-a-day