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Variety is the Spice of Life for Entrepreneurs

April 8, 2013

Advice for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners


A few weeks ago, I was shopping in the supermarket for Easter gifts for my family when I notice the abundance of choices before me. No longer did I have to buy traditional colored M&Ms or Kit Kats for my sons’ Easter baskets, there were pastel shades of this customary candy ready for purchase. When I looked for a Paas Egg Coloring Kit, the traditional six color pack wasn’t available instead I had to choose from pastel or neon colored packs. When I stood in the floral department at Wegmans, I couldn’t find a basic lily plant because it was buried behind ten different colored tulip plants, roses and hydrangeas.

My shopping experience was not only colorful; as an entrepreneur, it was thought provoking and ultimately instructive.

As a consumer, I like having choices as long as my favorite products are still available. I don’t mind variations in a product’s color, size and shape as long as I have access to the traditional brand. But I know there are consumers who like change, who thrive on variety and enjoy purchasing new versions of old time favorites, so today’s entrepreneurial advice comes from both buying perspectives.

• If you sell a popular basic product, always make sure consumers can buy it from your online store or in a local or regional shopping outlet. A traditional branded product takes years to develop and market. Just because other companies are offering new and improved products, it doesn’t mean your company must. Survey your customers and find out what they love about your product and keep marketing its fundamental features, and emphasize the product’s strengths’.

• If you want to add variety to a product or service line, study what’s new by conducting market research or attending a national industry trade show. A number of my members who sell food products attend the annual National Food Show to discover the latest craze; and then they incorporate a few new ideas into their businesses each year. It has helped to keep their product lines diverse and fresh for their customers.

• After you produce a new variety of a traditional brand, pay attention to buying statistics so you can analyze whether new varieties are selling well. Track buying patterns, survey consumers and make adjustments to sell more of the new product if it has a favorable rating or cut back on production if it isn’t doing well. Businesses like McDonald’s change their menus all the time based on the popularity of both old and new products.

As an entrepreneur it’s wise to produce familiar, well known and popular products while dabbling in new varieties periodically. Without innovation and diversity, my Easter shopping experience along with that of my fellow consumers would have been much less colorful.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2013 1:11 pm

    Great article Tracy. Offering variety, or even packaging something differently, can definitely generate new interest. I sell “services”, but I have found that if I can relate those services to something going on at the moment, it will make even them seem a little “fresher”!


  2. April 8, 2013 1:12 pm

    Thank you Kimberly for your service advice for our readers. Great point.


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