I'm new here, so let me first introduce myself. My name is Eric and I recently closed a business repairing musical and high end stereo equipment, moved to southern California and am now considering re-opening my business in light of the tough job market and the fact that I'd rather be self-employed anyway.
I see re-opening my business as a way to "re-incarnate" it in a better form, so I'm going through the process as if I was just starting out. Dan often mentions the necessity of having a "Unique Selling Proposition" and I've been attempting to determine whether I really have one in my present business model.
My previous clients appreciated that:
Although these are all great qualities, I'm not sure I'd consider them unique, maybe half the techs who work on musical equipment have these in some measure and half don't. I'm looking for some help in hashing out what I could do to add value in a unique way to what I already do. I want to stand out!!
Thanks in advance!
I don't have a specific answer to defining your USP, but I'll share my experiences. I live in Indianapolis and played in a band with a guy that modifies and repairs amps. The guy is well respected as knowing amps through and through, top to bottom. If someone is in the market for a killer modified amp (JCM 800 is my style)... they go to this guy... end of story. That's his USP. Everyone knows it. All the musicians in town go to him. Big name acts bring their gear to his store... its crazy.
I'm not sure how he got such a stellar reputation, but he owns the local market for quality amp repair and modification on any amp. His site is here: http://www.unclealberts.com/
Call him up and ask for advice. His name is Kevin, great guy to chat with.
Hi Jeremy, thanks for the reply. I was on my way to owning the market where I came from, but I didn't want to stay in Michigan. Things were really staring to take off and I even had other shops sending work my way! I know there are some other great amp techs in this area, so I was trying to think of a unique way to differentiate myself from them.
I'll check out what Kevin has going on.
Eric, I think Jeremy's point was that you need to find a specific niche and become the go-to guy in that specific area.
Southwest Airlines is a big-company example of completely owning a niche. When they started their company, they flew between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Southwest knew people flew between those cities a great deal, and they were the lowest-cost airline on those routes. No exceptions. Over time, they were known as the lowest-cost airline and built their business from there.
Was there a specific instrument or family of instruments you either enjoyed repairing or were really good at repairing? I'm thinking of my uncle's brother in law in California. He's an acoustic guitar player. As an example, could you become the go-to person for repairing acoustic guitars? You can still repair other types of instruments, but you focus all of your active marketing on that specific niche. People want to work with, and will spend more money for, someone who is THE expert on a particular item.
For most of the musical community in the region I became the guy for guitar amps, and everyone else was starting to catch on. I'm still having new people contact me!
But I also fixed electric guitars, organs, and high end stereo equipment.
But what I do is not all that unusual. Yes I could specialize in one particular "flavor" of amp, but that would be too limiting, especially as most serious musicians have several amps in their collection to choose from depending on the gig and style of music they are playing that night. Many musicians were glad to be able to drop off "whatever" and have whatever problem taken care of without worrying about whether I could fix it.
I have done some modifications which I designed, that are amp specific to improve their sound. Perhaps I should advertise these. Right know I just advertise that I do mods, but leave it up to someone who views my website to dream the possibilities...