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Today my guest on the podcast is Nicole Higgins. Nicole has worked as a buyer and head of buying for over 18 years for retailers such as Primark, M&S,  Debenhams and George at Asda, gaining experience in buying, product development, strategy and leadership and global sourcing. In 2020 she established the Buyer and Retail Coach to help small businesses start and scale their product business and increase their sales and profits.

Nicole reveals her top tips from developing and launching your brand, to how to grow and scale your business, and common mistakes to avoid. There is so much knowledge here, and Nicole shares a range of excellent resources I know that you will want to investigate. Whether you are starting out, or looking to take the next step in your business, there are lots of takeaways actions in this episode.

Listen in to hear Nicole share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:04)
  • Learnings from working with big brands that can be applied to small brands (02:26)
  • The advantages of being a smaller brand  (04:31)
  • The importance of outsourcing (05:13)
  • The first step to take when developing your product (07:26)
  • Pre-work to do before finding a supplier (09:38)
  • Questions to consider when choosing a supplier (11:08)
  • Pricing (13:33)
  • How to have a successful product launch (17:08)
  • Why Tik Tok is a great platform for a product business (21:48)
  • Great resources for PR tips (26:05)
  • How to successfully grow and scale your business (28:18)
  • Common mistakes to avoid (34:01)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (38:42)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Nicole Higgins:

The Buyer & Retail Coach Website

The Buyer & Retail Coach Instagram

The Buyer & Retail Coach Podcast

FREE RESOURCE: Questions to ask suppliers when starting your business

Brands & Resources mentioned:

Adam Frisby –  In The Style

Katie Tucker – Product Jungle

Common Objective

Alibaba

Pantee

Mailchimp

Klaviyo

Launchrock

Fiona Minett – Boss Your PR

Lucy Werner – Hype Yourself

Lightbulb Facebook Group

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Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas To Life Podcast, practical

Vicki Weinberg:

advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Vicki Weinberg:

Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hello, today I'm talking to Nicole Higgins, The Buyer and Retail Coach.

Vicki Weinberg:

Nicole has worked as a buyer and head of buying for over 18 years for retailers,

Vicki Weinberg:

such as Primark, M&S, Debenhams and George at Asda gaining experience in

Vicki Weinberg:

buying product development, strategy and leadership, and global sourcing.

Vicki Weinberg:In:Vicki Weinberg:

It helps more businesses start and scale their product business, and

Vicki Weinberg:

increase their sales and profits.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, this was a fantastic, really interesting

Vicki Weinberg:

conversation I had with Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

We cover a lot of topics and I genuinely think there's going to

Vicki Weinberg:

be something here for everyone.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, hi, Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for being here.

Nicole Higgins:

Thank you very much for having me.

Nicole Higgins:

I'm excited today to chat to you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Me too.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can we start by you, please giving an introduction to yourself,

Vicki Weinberg:

your business and what you do?

Nicole Higgins:

Yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

So my name is Nicole Higgins and you'll find me on Instagram and my

Nicole Higgins:

website as The Buyer and Retail Coach.

Nicole Higgins:

So what I do is I help, um, I do a variety of things, but the main thing

Nicole Higgins:

I would be known for and what I promote socially, um, on social media and

Nicole Higgins:

stuff is I help entrepreneurs start and scale their product businesses.

Nicole Higgins:

So if you have an idea and you don't know where to start and you want

Nicole Higgins:

to get going, I help you with that.

Nicole Higgins:

If you have a product business already and you maybe want to grow it, or you

Nicole Higgins:

might be stuck and you need to get more clarity of how you can make more

Nicole Higgins:

income, I can help with that as well.

Nicole Higgins:

And I also help corporates on projects, and I also teach

Nicole Higgins:

buying merchandising aswell.

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing you do.

Nicole Higgins:

And my experience.

Nicole Higgins:

So I was just saying, in terms of, from an experience, point of view, how

Nicole Higgins:

I came to, to this is I have, um, 18 years experience working as a buyer

Nicole Higgins:

and head of buying for companies like Primark, Marks and Spencers, Debenhams.

Nicole Higgins:

So within that role, I would have been doing a lot of product development,

Nicole Higgins:

sourcing from different countries, doing strategies for departments,

Nicole Higgins:

introducing new departments, uh, across a variety of multi products

Nicole Higgins:

from health and beauty to lingerie, to footwear and accessories and homewear

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So clearly you've got loads of experience working with these huge brands.

Nicole Higgins:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so, and I know this is probably a big question,

Vicki Weinberg:

but let's just jump in Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, is there anything that you learned from working with these big brands that

Vicki Weinberg:

you think small brands could also apply?

Nicole Higgins:

I think, you know, not everything is going to work.

Nicole Higgins:

You're going to make mistakes, products, some products are going to fail.

Nicole Higgins:

You're going, you know, some things aren't going turn up, a

Nicole Higgins:

supplier's going to let you down.

Nicole Higgins:

But generally from a product point of view, if something doesn't work,

Nicole Higgins:

just it's that fail fast and move on, you know, because the, the sooner

Nicole Higgins:

you can kind of get yourself out of the problem, find a solution and move

Nicole Higgins:

on, you can start taking more cash again and get money into the business.

Nicole Higgins:

So that's one thing I would say um, that a lot of bigger companies do is, is, and

Nicole Higgins:

also within that they, they review why it didn't work or what happened so that they,

Nicole Higgins:

that those mistakes aren't made again.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, making sure that you're looking at the numbers, if you don't understand the data

Nicole Higgins:

in your numbers, then you don't know where you can, where you're potentially losing

Nicole Higgins:

money or where you could make more money or where you could be more effective.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, so there, I would say in terms of, obviously there's, there's lots

Nicole Higgins:

of, um, of areas, I think also really understanding your customer because,

Nicole Higgins:

and I'll touch on this as well I'm sure as we go along, um, but without your

Nicole Higgins:

customer, you don't have any business.

Nicole Higgins:

So, you know, I've worked for, I worked for a retailer and in

Nicole Higgins:

their head, they, they wanted to change their customer profile.

Nicole Higgins:

They wanted to attract a younger customer, but they'd started then to ignore the

Nicole Higgins:

existing, older customer that they had.

Nicole Higgins:

And they weren't bringing them on the journey with them of why they were

Nicole Higgins:

changing things or what they were doing.

Nicole Higgins:

So they started to lose older customers and their, you know, their profit started

Nicole Higgins:

to decline, sales started to decline.

Nicole Higgins:

So, you know, really understanding who your customer is and taking them on that

Nicole Higgins:

journey and making sure you are giving them products that they want and need,

Nicole Higgins:

you know, and I know that sounds so obvious, but it's just really crucial

Nicole Higgins:

to get that money in the, in the term.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So something that just occurred to me while you were speaking, Nicole, is it

Vicki Weinberg:

often when small businesses start out, they like have sometimes they have a

Vicki Weinberg:

big brand in mind that they aspire to be like mm-hmm . Um, but I'm thinking

Vicki Weinberg:

that actually there's probably some advantages to being a small business.

Vicki Weinberg:

If you see what I mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, what, what do you think, do you think there are some advantages to being small?

Nicole Higgins:

I think as a small business, you can really get to know your

Nicole Higgins:

customer and they really want to engage with you because especially if you are

Nicole Higgins:

the face of your brand or you're, you're very kind of visible on socials, they

Nicole Higgins:

get to know you and they want to get to know what's going on behind the scenes.

Nicole Higgins:

So I think that engagement piece with a customer is, um, obviously really

Nicole Higgins:

important and, and key if you're a small business and when you're a small business

Nicole Higgins:

in terms of advantages as well, you can start, you know, you can start lean, you

Nicole Higgins:

don't have to have bricks and mortar.

Nicole Higgins:

You don't have to have a full team of people.

Nicole Higgins:

There's a lot of things that you can do yourself or outsource

Nicole Higgins:

to, um, to start your business.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, you've got people that like Adam, uh, Frisby from In The Style, he

Nicole Higgins:

started his business with a thousand pounds, you know, and they're now on

Nicole Higgins:

the, you know, on they've now floated, I think they're worth about a £104

Nicole Higgins:

million or that's what they floated for.

Nicole Higgins:

I think when they that's what they were valued at when they first floated.

Nicole Higgins:

So you don't have to have a, a huge budget and you can test, I mean, big

Nicole Higgins:

businesses also do this as well, but you know, you can test learn, and then.

Nicole Higgins:

So from a product point of view, you can test what works, get back into it.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, and that's also what bigger businesses do as well.

Nicole Higgins:

But I think really being close to your customer, um, you can be leaner.

Nicole Higgins:

You can outsource, um, things as and when you need to and be a bit more ad hoc with

Nicole Higgins:

that, especially if you're starting on, if you're starting out yourself, you know.

Nicole Higgins:

A lot of people try and do everything themselves because they're very conscious

Nicole Higgins:

of budget, but then you get to a point of where is your time best spent and

Nicole Higgins:

can someone do this quicker and possibly better that I can pay, which then

Nicole Higgins:

frees up my time to focus on, you know, strategy, product, meeting new brands,

Nicole Higgins:

sourcing new brands, dealing with that supplier issue might that you might be

Nicole Higgins:

the only person that can deal with it.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I know that wasn't the question we prepared, but when we were talking about

Vicki Weinberg:

big brands and what, you know, we, as small businesses can learn from them,

Vicki Weinberg:

I thought actually we should actually highlight the fact that sometimes being

Vicki Weinberg:

a small brand does have its advantages.

Vicki Weinberg:

And when you were talking, I was thinking that I could think of so many examples

Vicki Weinberg:

of brands where the founders have done such a good job of being the face of

Vicki Weinberg:

the brand on their, on social media.

Vicki Weinberg:

And as you say, you actually sort of invest in them because you genuinely

Vicki Weinberg:

are interested in that person.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so let's start.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I, you know, I've only got you for limited amount of time.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'd love to get as much advice as possible.

Nicole Higgins:

Please.

Nicole Higgins:

So if I start talking too quickly.

Nicole Higgins:

You'll have to give me time, like slow down.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I would love to have your advice on, I'm going to

Vicki Weinberg:

start right from the beginning here.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'd really love to have some advice from you on, so if you're a

Vicki Weinberg:

new brand and just looking to get started maybe around developing.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, developing and sourcing a product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Let's talk about that first.

Nicole Higgins:

So first of all, before you start developing your

Nicole Higgins:

product and sourcing it, you need to understand it's like getting, taking

Nicole Higgins:

it back to that customer and who your customer is, uh, why you're doing it.

Nicole Higgins:

Why is your product different to what else is out there on the market?

Nicole Higgins:

So really understanding your customer.

Nicole Higgins:

So I'd recommend that you do, um, customer research and someone to

Nicole Higgins:

follow for this and who gives great tips on this, is a lady called

Nicole Higgins:

Katie Tucker, who is on Instagram.

Nicole Higgins:

You can find her at Product Jungle.

Nicole Higgins:

And, um, but you know, definitely reaching out to your audience and

Nicole Higgins:

if you're starting out, you're like, 'well, hang on a second.

Nicole Higgins:

I don't have an audience', but you, you know who your customer is, you

Nicole Higgins:

know, you know, where they would hang out, what their behaviors are.

Nicole Higgins:

So you can find groups that they might be in.

Nicole Higgins:

You can look at places like, um.

Nicole Higgins:

You can also look on forums and see the kind of conversations that are going on.

Nicole Higgins:

So you get a bit of an insight into what their main points

Nicole Higgins:

are, what they're looking at.

Nicole Higgins:

Also a good tip that someone gave me once is go.

Nicole Higgins:

So if you're developing a product, say, say it's a self-tanning product and you,

Nicole Higgins:

you can go on Amazon and have a look at the bad reviews for that product category.

Nicole Higgins:

And it might be, oh, it, you know, it streaks, it didn't dry, it was tacky,

Nicole Higgins:

it was, it had a bit of a funny smell.

Nicole Higgins:

So you know, all these things that you don't want your product to

Nicole Higgins:

have, and you want to be able to shout about the positives of it

Nicole Higgins:

rather than those kind of things.

Nicole Higgins:

So, um, creating a customer questionnaire, doing your market research on that side

Nicole Higgins:

of things, making sure that you are in a category that is growing then.

Nicole Higgins:

Potential, um, or that you are offering something that's different to, from either

Nicole Higgins:

a price or a product or a service or a quality to what's already out there.

Nicole Higgins:

So I'd really look at the competition and benchmark yourself in terms of where do

Nicole Higgins:

you fit from a, a brand positioning, you know, what's your pricing going to be?

Nicole Higgins:

What type of product range do you want to have?

Nicole Higgins:

So really getting that before you start getting into the nitty gritty of it,

Nicole Higgins:

having that bird's eye view of your, your product, your business, your customer.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, so understanding who your target market is, like I said, doing your

Nicole Higgins:

research on that, knowing where you're positioned in the market from a brand

Nicole Higgins:

point of view and understanding your, your looking at your branding, your

Nicole Higgins:

values, your missions, knowing your why.

Nicole Higgins:

And so there's so much work to do before you start going.

Nicole Higgins:

Right.

Nicole Higgins:

Let's find that supplier, you know, there's so much pre-work for you to

Nicole Higgins:

look at before you dive in and start spending a whole lot of money on

Nicole Higgins:

samples and time finding supplier, finding the right supplier for you.

Nicole Higgins:

So once you understand all of that and you know, you've got a minimum viable product,

Nicole Higgins:

then from a sourcing point of view, it's knowing also what you need, like, what are

Nicole Higgins:

your non, what won't you compromise on?

Nicole Higgins:

Is it, does it have to be a certain price?

Nicole Higgins:

Does it have to be a certain quality?

Nicole Higgins:

Does it have to be sustainable?

Nicole Higgins:

You know, kind of understanding those type of things.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, and then from, do you, do you want to make it in the UK?

Nicole Higgins:

Do you want to make it in Europe?

Nicole Higgins:

Are you not really bothered where you make it as long as you get it for

Nicole Higgins:

the right price to margin and maybe it's sustainable fabrics, but you're

Nicole Higgins:

open to have it made in any country.

Nicole Higgins:

Thinking about those kind of things.

Nicole Higgins:

Obviously when you're starting out, you wanna start small.

Nicole Higgins:

So from a supply based point of view, you're looking for a supplier

Nicole Higgins:

that can make smaller quantities, um, and finding your suppliers.

Nicole Higgins:

There are a couple of places you can find suppliers are LinkedIn, Common Objective

Nicole Higgins:

is a good one for sustainable suppliers.

Nicole Higgins:

So LinkedIn, Common Objective, um, even Instagram.

Nicole Higgins:

Now, if you put in, um, you know, you can put in supply Bulgaria

Nicole Higgins:

or a swimwear supplier, hashtag swimwear suppliers, a lot more people

Nicole Higgins:

are using Instagram, and TikTok, actually, as well as search engines.

Nicole Higgins:

You know.

Vicki Weinberg:

So interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

I had no idea.

Nicole Higgins:

Yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

And, um, so people are using that.

Nicole Higgins:

Because if you think you might have a supplier that's, that's, you know,

Nicole Higgins:

showing a video of how something's being made or whatever, and then, and

Nicole Higgins:

tags, you know, footwear manufacturer or whatever it might be in Portugal.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, so using Instagram and, and TikTok search engines, obviously Google,

Nicole Higgins:

you can find suppliers on Google, Alibaba, you know, there's quite a few

Nicole Higgins:

places to find, um, your suppliers.

Nicole Higgins:

Then you, this is, this might, well, this might be going on and going on here

Nicole Higgins:

because there is a lot to, to cover, I suppose, from the sourcing point of

Nicole Higgins:

view, the, the main questions to start that you would want to ask them is

Nicole Higgins:

what their minimum order quantity is.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, what their lead time is.

Nicole Higgins:

So that's the, the lead time of how long it takes them to make the product

Nicole Higgins:

and what their payment terms are.

Nicole Higgins:

And they would be the three first questions I would ask.

Nicole Higgins:

There's there's more to come, but it helps you understand, you know,

Nicole Higgins:

you know, straight away, if you only want to make 200 units of something.

Nicole Higgins:

If a supplier's minimum order, quantity is a thousand per colour or per style, then

Nicole Higgins:

they're not the right supplier for you.

Nicole Higgins:

So you just, you know, you straight away, you can shut that conversation down.

Nicole Higgins:

Payment terms should usually be like between 30 and 50% upfront.

Nicole Higgins:

That's usually what it is.

Nicole Higgins:

And then you pay the rest when the products are finished

Nicole Higgins:

and then lead time can vary.

Nicole Higgins:

Hugely from what the product is, where it's made and, um, you

Nicole Higgins:

know, how you're, you're bringing it into the country as well.

Nicole Higgins:

So there are some of, some of the things to think about.

Nicole Higgins:

And from a sourcing point of view, you know, I would get things cross costed

Nicole Higgins:

from a couple of different suppliers.

Nicole Higgins:

Then when you've narrowed it down, have zoom meetings with them because

Nicole Higgins:

it's about the relationships as well.

Nicole Higgins:

And, and choosing that, that supplier, you know, if you can go see them, if you're in

Nicole Higgins:

the same country, I would go and see them.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, but building those relationships is really key as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for all of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I, I really liked hearing you talking about the research needed at the outset,

Vicki Weinberg:

because that's something I also talk about a lot that you shouldn't just be going and

Vicki Weinberg:

spending time and money on developing a product before, you know, whether anyone's

Vicki Weinberg:

actually going, whether anyone wants it.

Nicole Higgins:

Yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

And what's already out there and yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

How you can be different, you know, is it a need?

Nicole Higgins:

Is it want, you know, What way you can speak to your customers as well.

Nicole Higgins:

There's so much to do so much groundwork, but if you do that groundwork at

Nicole Higgins:

the beginning, it saves you time and money throughout the process then.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Totally agree.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm also really interested speaking about all the groundwork

Vicki Weinberg:

on your thoughts on pricing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because I've always.

Vicki Weinberg:

My opinion is that, you know, you need to think about the price and

Vicki Weinberg:

where you think about in the market upfront before you start your sourcing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but then you do see a lot of people talking about, and I'm talking about,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, go and get prices and then work out what you're gonna sell it for

Vicki Weinberg:

based on what you can source it for.

Vicki Weinberg:

Personally I don't think that's the right way about it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'd love to know your take on that.

Nicole Higgins:

No, no.

Nicole Higgins:

I agree with you.

Nicole Higgins:

You should have an idea in mind of where you want your prices, where you want

Nicole Higgins:

your prices to retail at, regardless of what you've had back from suppliers

Nicole Higgins:

yet, you should understand, right, for this product, for this quality I

Nicole Higgins:

want it to be, um, a hundred pounds, you know, and you get, you might get

Nicole Higgins:

your price back and you might make 80% margin, a hundred pounds, but it's still

Nicole Higgins:

worth a hundred pounds based on your brand positioning where the gap in the

Nicole Higgins:

market is and whatever it might be.

Nicole Higgins:

Don't, you wouldn't bring it down just to say, oh, I make, I'll make a lower margin

Nicole Higgins:

at 70 because, oh, is that too much?

Nicole Higgins:

Or, you know, and I remember a client I had.

Nicole Higgins:

She did change it after our conversation, but you know, she, she

Nicole Higgins:

was doing some candles and she's like, okay, I've, you know, it's, it's at

Nicole Higgins:

12, let's say it was at 12 pounds.

Nicole Higgins:

And I said, right, well, look at the rest of the market.

Nicole Higgins:

You're underselling yourself by about a fiver.

Nicole Higgins:

You want to be in these type of retailers, that product at that price is

Nicole Higgins:

too cheap for those type of retailers.

Nicole Higgins:

They'll think you're not on their level where, but she was like, oh, I just, I

Nicole Higgins:

was making healthy margin at this price.

Nicole Higgins:

And I was like, yeah, but it's not, it's not always about that.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, you can make more if you want, you know, you can make more

Nicole Higgins:

from a proper point of view, but yes, I would always agree, look at

Nicole Higgins:

where you should be positioned first and then work it back to, you know.

Nicole Higgins:

Sorry, look at where, look at where you need to be from a price point of view,

Nicole Higgins:

rather than getting your cost prices.

Nicole Higgins:

And then just multiplying it out to where, because, you know, generally you

Nicole Higgins:

might, you might make mistakes there.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I've also seen it in a few instances happen the other way, where

Vicki Weinberg:

somebody has got the price and they've gone 'okay, so what basic, what I'm trying

Vicki Weinberg:

to say is they've overpriced their product based on the production price, because

Vicki Weinberg:

they've gone 'oh, the only way I can make a profit is if I price this at 25 pounds',

Vicki Weinberg:

but everyone else is pricing theirs at 16.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and then they wonder why then maybe not, they're not,

Vicki Weinberg:

they're not selling, getting any sales, um, so yeah, I mean, so.

Vicki Weinberg:

So there will be, if that's the case, then possibly you need to look at changing

Vicki Weinberg:

something, at your product, looking at different countries for suppliers

Vicki Weinberg:

or changing something, or maybe going actually, this just isn't what I want

Vicki Weinberg:

actually isn't profitable, but I certainly wouldn't advise, setting a higher price

Vicki Weinberg:

than the market, you know, the suitable in the market, just because that's the

Vicki Weinberg:

price it's gonna cost you to make it.

Nicole Higgins:

Absolutely.

Nicole Higgins:

And I think that's why, when you're looking for your supply base at the

Nicole Higgins:

beginning, understanding, and you don't need to share it with your supplier.

Nicole Higgins:

If you don't wanna to share what kind of, um, cost price you need at the

Nicole Higgins:

beginning, because you wanna wait and see what they come back with.

Nicole Higgins:

But, um, you know, understanding then, right well, if they give me a price

Nicole Higgins:

of this, this means that it would have to be that co that retail that's

Nicole Higgins:

too much, or yes, I can work with it.

Nicole Higgins:

It's very much once, you know, kind of where you want to position your

Nicole Higgins:

products from a price point of view.

Nicole Higgins:

It also helps with that when you're sourcing with the suppliers, because

Nicole Higgins:

you know, you know who you can, who you can work with and who you can't.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, there's no point if you want a product based for, you know, those

Nicole Higgins:

kind of retails at Zara's prices.

Nicole Higgins:

You're not going to be the same, going to the same suppliers that use Gucci

Nicole Higgins:

that you know, that Gucci uses, you know.

Nicole Higgins:

It's just.

Nicole Higgins:

It makes it just makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So let's move on a bit and talk about actually launching a product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, what's your best advice for how to have a successful product launch?

Nicole Higgins:

Start engaging with your customers as soon as you can.

Nicole Higgins:

So once you've got your brand and you feel comfortable with your tone

Nicole Higgins:

of voice and, and what that might be, bring them on the journey.

Nicole Higgins:

So you may, and you don't need, I'm not talking about talk posting every

Nicole Higgins:

day, but bring them on the journey with you in terms of what you're doing.

Nicole Higgins:

So you might be thinking, well, I haven't even got any product to

Nicole Higgins:

show them, what am I, you know, what am I gonna be talking about?

Nicole Higgins:

But you can bring them on the journey.

Nicole Higgins:

You can bring them in the decisions.

Nicole Higgins:

And when you think, when you do that initial customer research, you'll

Nicole Higgins:

know what they're also interested in.

Nicole Higgins:

So you, you might not, you know, you don't have to always

Nicole Higgins:

just talk about your product.

Nicole Higgins:

It's other things that they might be interested in.

Nicole Higgins:

I once.

Nicole Higgins:

I interviewed for, uh, my own podcast Start Scale Succeed.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, the two founders of an under a sustainable underwear brand called Pantee.

Nicole Higgins:

And they were communicating with their, with their customers and set up their

Nicole Higgins:

socials about a year before they launched.

Nicole Higgins:

They didn't intend it to be a year, but with supply issues and whatever it

Nicole Higgins:

might be to be a year, but they then did the kickstart to campaign and those

Nicole Higgins:

customers that they had engaged with those people and so, and followers and

Nicole Higgins:

social media, they'd engaged with they, they funded their Kickstarter campaign.

Nicole Higgins:

So without doing that engagement piece and starting their social

Nicole Higgins:

media accounts, um, you know, they wouldn't have had that funding.

Nicole Higgins:

So what I would definitely say is don't turn up and go, yeah, I'm here.

Nicole Higgins:

You have to put groundwork in and don't expect people to

Nicole Higgins:

be flooding to your website.

Nicole Higgins:

You have to put the groundwork in at, you know, I would say minimum three

Nicole Higgins:

months, really, if you can, but, but further ahead, if you, if you can to try

Nicole Higgins:

and build that audience, I'd also, um, you know, so you're engaging with them.

Nicole Higgins:

You're looking at other.

Nicole Higgins:

You don't have to do you, you can be commenting on other accounts that you

Nicole Higgins:

know, that there have an interest in that.

Nicole Higgins:

So if you're a fitness brand, you might be following a nutritionist you're commenting

Nicole Higgins:

on their, on the nutritionist posts.

Nicole Higgins:

People are then seeing what you're saying that's relative

Nicole Higgins:

to what they're talking about.

Nicole Higgins:

They go check you out.

Nicole Higgins:

So it's doing that engagement piece as well.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, I would also say start growing an email list if you can.

Nicole Higgins:

So in that way, if you have a landing page done, so you, you don't need a

Nicole Higgins:

whole website just to have a landing page, I think MailChimp do it.

Nicole Higgins:

I'm not sure about Klaviyo there's um, there's a, um, a company called Launch

Nicole Higgins:

Rock that you can literally just set up a page and start collecting email addresses.

Nicole Higgins:

So you might say, you know, sign up to hear about our launch, get 10% off.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, you might create a.

Nicole Higgins:

So again, if, if we go back to the activewear brand, you might

Nicole Higgins:

create some kind of PDF lead magnet that people can download and then

Nicole Higgins:

you have the email addresses.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, so it starts see if you can start building your list, building

Nicole Higgins:

your engagement, definitely go from a social's point of view.

Nicole Higgins:

I'd also go on TikTok and you're like, you know, you might be thinking, 'oh

Nicole Higgins:

God, I'm not gonna have time to do all this', but just do what you can.

Nicole Higgins:

But the, the more you can do, then the better you will be for launch.

Nicole Higgins:

Definitely use, um, influencer marketing to help you.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, I read to start with I think for every dollar invested in

Nicole Higgins:

influencer marketing, you get $5 back from a return on investment.

Nicole Higgins:

So, and that doesn't have to be big influencers, you know, it can be, it's

Nicole Higgins:

often the smaller ones that have an engaged audience, um, have a countdown,

Nicole Higgins:

but not too far, like you wouldn't be counting down from a year out.

Nicole Higgins:

You might be counting down from like two weeks out and, um,

Nicole Higgins:

competitions are also good and, you know, leverage off other audiences.

Nicole Higgins:

And so.

Nicole Higgins:

If again, if we take, for example, an activewear brand, you could do

Nicole Higgins:

a competition with a, uh, fitness supplement,brand, a nutri, you know,

Nicole Higgins:

nutritionist that might give a, a session and, you know, someone that's offering

Nicole Higgins:

a retreat, you know, and you might do this kind of competition together.

Nicole Higgins:

So there are a couple of things I would suggest to help you with launching.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for all of those.

Vicki Weinberg:

And yeah, I know that it might sound like a lot, but I think it's fair

Vicki Weinberg:

to say, Nicole, that there is gonna be a period of time between you

Vicki Weinberg:

coming up with the initial products idea and actually having something

Vicki Weinberg:

physically available for people to buy.

Vicki Weinberg:

And obviously we can't give an exact time scale.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but it doesn't happen overnight.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that I think there is the time to do all of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I also have a podcast episode, I think, which from last summer that

Vicki Weinberg:

I'll link in to the show notes, which is all about working with influencers.

Vicki Weinberg:

That we had an influencer on with her best tips on how to find great people

Vicki Weinberg:

to work with, how to approach them.

Vicki Weinberg:

Mm-hmm linked to that as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I just wanna come back to what you said about TikTok actualy there, Nicole,

Vicki Weinberg:

because you are the first person I've spoken to, who's recommended using TikTok.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I'll be honest.

Vicki Weinberg:

I just think I'm too old for it, which is ridiculous.

Vicki Weinberg:

Isn't it probably shouldn't.

Vicki Weinberg:

I shouldn't put those limits on myself.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, why, why do you think TikTok is, is so good for sharing.

Nicole Higgins:

In terms of how from a product business it's one

Nicole Higgins:

of the, I do have some stats.

Nicole Higgins:

Let me try and see if I can, if you wanna pause it a minute and

Nicole Higgins:

I'll just, um, pull them up.

Nicole Higgins:

So, um, while I have them here, yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

Okay.

Nicole Higgins:

So now TikTok is a must for product businesses because the reach is

Nicole Higgins:

phenomenal and it's quite quick as well.

Nicole Higgins:

You don't have, so with Instagram, it's very much about nurturing and,

Nicole Higgins:

uh, bringing them on the journey.

Nicole Higgins:

Whereas TikTok is a little bit, you don't have to, I don't mean that you

Nicole Higgins:

don't have to put as much effort in, but the, you know, you only have a

Nicole Higgins:

short amount of space for posts, you know, but it has a really high reach.

Nicole Higgins:

So TikTok now is like, what people say Instagram was four or five years ago

Nicole Higgins:

in terms of the ease of people, seeing your, your product, your, you know,

Nicole Higgins:

what you're doing, but then from, and I know other people think, oh, I'm too old

Nicole Higgins:

for it, or, but you would be surprised.

Nicole Higgins:

So.

Nicole Higgins:

The age group of 30 to 49 year olds are about 40% of TikTok users.

Nicole Higgins:

So that's quite a big chunk.

Nicole Higgins:

And then that if you are a, a lot of people use, like I said, in terms of

Nicole Higgins:

TikTok for a search engine and Instagram for a search engine, that they are

Nicole Higgins:

more, the TikTok is more likely to be the source of product discovery.

Nicole Higgins:

So people go on there looking for brands.

Nicole Higgins:

And, um, so I think it's like 30 TikTok uses 38% more likely to research

Nicole Higgins:

brands and then 44% more likely to buy products that they find on the platform.

Nicole Higgins:

So, and very likely to engage with the brands.

Nicole Higgins:

So I do think, and I've had a client of mine and she did a, it was, she did a

Nicole Higgins:

video and she had 3 million views on it.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, so to be able to put your product in front of 3 million people, you

Nicole Higgins:

know, uh, potential customers, not all of those gonna be customers, obviously your

Nicole Higgins:

website would crash, but you know, it's, it's a free, it's free, it's organic,

Nicole Higgins:

you know, all that, the how tos and the way I would, um, suggest you, you kind

Nicole Higgins:

of start off, is look at the, look at the brands that are in your product type

Nicole Higgins:

and what, um, type of things they're posting for you to get inspiration

Nicole Higgins:

on, not copy, but to get inspired by, you know, see what are the kind of

Nicole Higgins:

things that have had the high views.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, you know, use trending audios, um.

Nicole Higgins:

But it's definitely something a lot of behind the scenes.

Nicole Higgins:

And I would just, even if you're not ready, and this is a, a, a tip, if you

Nicole Higgins:

haven't got your branding done or you haven't, you know, film, film as much

Nicole Higgins:

as you can document as much as you can, because you will, there will be a time

Nicole Higgins:

where you're gonna be able to use it.

Nicole Higgins:

And you'll have a nice bank of content of little video stills, you know.

Nicole Higgins:

Ask your suppliers if they can take little videos of things being

Nicole Higgins:

made in the factory, you know.

Nicole Higgins:

All of those kind of things you'll be able to use at some point for

Nicole Higgins:

contact, with content, whether it's on Instagram or whether it's on TikTok.

Nicole Higgins:

But yeah, if you're a product business and you're listening and you're not on

Nicole Higgins:

TikTok, then get yourself on TikTok.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I really like your tip about asking your suppliers

Vicki Weinberg:

to film little videos as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I'm sure for them it's no bother at all and yeah, that would be such

Vicki Weinberg:

valuable content to have along the line

Nicole Higgins:

No, absolutely.

Nicole Higgins:

And like I said it's just quick.

Nicole Higgins:

They can WhatsApp it back to you.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, you're not because you only, probably only need like what a 10,

Nicole Higgins:

second, 30 second little video where they could do something that's a bit

Nicole Higgins:

longer and you can edit it and snip it.

Nicole Higgins:

But, um, yeah, all content you go.

Nicole Higgins:

I know it sounds stupid, but you go into the post office with loads

Nicole Higgins:

of parcels, is content, you know.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you know what?

Vicki Weinberg:

I'll be really honest.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've never even looked at TikTok.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've never

Vicki Weinberg:

opened it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I would say never

Vicki Weinberg:

downloaded it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm assuming you can go on websites.

Vicki Weinberg:

Doesn't that?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I, I say one thing I'm gonna do after this, Nicole, when I have my lunch is

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm gonna go on TikTok and have a look.

Nicole Higgins:

No, you should.

Nicole Higgins:

I mean, and I, and I'm guilty in terms of, I've only just started

Nicole Higgins:

going on it as a platform myself.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, mainly because I'm launching my own product business later on in the

Nicole Higgins:

year, but, um, it is definitely, you know, the results I can see from, from

Nicole Higgins:

customers and where they're getting their traffic from to their website is,

Nicole Higgins:

is very much like TikTok and Instagram.

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Nicole Higgins:

No problem.

Vicki Weinberg:

So is there anything else you wanted to talk about around

Vicki Weinberg:

launching your product before we move on?

Nicole Higgins:

I suppose, in terms of the PR side of things, so.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, there's a lot of way, especially if you're on a budget, there's a lot

Nicole Higgins:

of ways you can do your own PR and, and two people that I would recommend

Nicole Higgins:

to, to listen to and follow are Fiona Minett and who is at Boss Your PR

Nicole Higgins:

on Instagram and, um, Lucy Werner, who is the author of Hype Yourself.

Nicole Higgins:

And, um, and also if you're not on it and you're a product

Nicole Higgins:

business is the, and I hope it's alright for me sharing all these.

Vicki Weinberg:

Of course.

Vicki Weinberg:

No, it is really helpful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Don't worry.

Nicole Higgins:

I'm like that going.

Nicole Higgins:

Oh my God.

Nicole Higgins:

These reams of show notes and links, um, is there's a Facebook group called

Nicole Higgins:

Light Bulb and it's run by an ex journalist called Charlotte Crisp.

Nicole Higgins:

And what that is.

Nicole Higgins:

No PRs are allowed in that.

Nicole Higgins:

It's basically the journalists and individuals.

Nicole Higgins:

So they might be product owners.

Nicole Higgins:

They might be coaches.

Nicole Higgins:

They might be whatever it might be.

Nicole Higgins:

And the way it works is you can pitch directly to a journalist.

Nicole Higgins:

You can kind of jump on the back of, um, something that's going on.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, so say if we're talking about we're coming up to the Jubilee, you might

Nicole Higgins:

be making, um, a whole range Union Jack cards or teatowels or memorabilia

Nicole Higgins:

for the, for the Jubilee, you could pitch that in the, in the group.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, what the journalists often do is they'll, they'll say I'm looking

Nicole Higgins:

for a, this, this age, to this age that has this type of story.

Nicole Higgins:

And even if it's not related to your business, but you are.

Nicole Higgins:

You can fit, you fit into what they're looking for and your business may get

Nicole Higgins:

mentioned or could get credited and all exposure for you is good exposure.

Nicole Higgins:

So, and that's, I think that's five pounds or £5.99 a month.

Nicole Higgins:

So it's like two cups of tea, you know, I don't drink coffee.

Nicole Higgins:

So it's too.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's a great recommendation.

Vicki Weinberg:

And actually that's where I found you Nicole, do you remember?

Vicki Weinberg:

You pitched in there as well?

Vicki Weinberg:

I was gonna, no, it's a worry.

Vicki Weinberg:

There's lots of, I think that it's great for all sorts of opportunities.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And making connections as well.

Nicole Higgins:

And collaborations and stuff.

Nicole Higgins:

So there, you might be other product businesses that you wanna

Nicole Higgins:

collaborate and do live with, or go on a podcast or, you know, because

Nicole Higgins:

they do a podcast shout outs as well.

Nicole Higgins:

So yeah, definitely.

Nicole Higgins:

I would, I would, um, recommend to join that group as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so let's move on if that's okay and talk about how to successfully

Vicki Weinberg:

grow and scale your product business, because I think it's one thing to

Vicki Weinberg:

have an idea, do your research, source your product, launch your product,

Vicki Weinberg:

and then hopefully you have a stage where, you know, sales are going well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, what sort of things would we be thinking of doing if we want to expand?

Nicole Higgins:

I would, yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

Go back to your bird's eye view again, in terms of right, you're making this

Nicole Higgins:

much money in the business, what's your, what are, what are your financial goals?

Nicole Higgins:

What, where do you want to be?

Nicole Higgins:

You know, have I would kind of brain dump on a piece of paper

Nicole Higgins:

first really kind of like, right.

Nicole Higgins:

What do you really want, is whole, is wholesale what you want?

Nicole Higgins:

Do you want to be in more retailers?

Nicole Higgins:

If you're currently turning over 500, do you want 500,000?

Nicole Higgins:

You know, do you wanna get to 500, another 500,000 in the next two

Nicole Higgins:

years or whatever it might be?

Nicole Higgins:

So I would set your goals.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, I would set your financial goals and, um, your kind of other

Nicole Higgins:

activities in terms of, right, I want to, you might be, I have other goals.

Nicole Higgins:

Like I wanna get more press.

Nicole Higgins:

I wanna, I wanna do more influencer, um, marketing or those kind of things

Nicole Higgins:

in terms of what do you, what do you want to, to where do you wanna

Nicole Higgins:

get to from an income point of view?

Nicole Higgins:

Very much so.

Nicole Higgins:

And, um, Looking then as well, some of the things I'd be looking at is

Nicole Higgins:

take a real review of your business.

Nicole Higgins:

What's working.

Nicole Higgins:

What's not what profit margin are you making?

Nicole Higgins:

Where are you sourcing your products?

Nicole Higgins:

Could you source them cheaper elsewhere with a, a reliable source?

Nicole Higgins:

Because a lot of those kind of things you, you need to do slow and steady.

Nicole Higgins:

So, because you don't want to sacrifice, or you don't want to,

Nicole Higgins:

um, either compromise quality or, or, or anything financially by just

Nicole Higgins:

jumping ship to a different supplier.

Nicole Higgins:

So you have to take do those kind of things, very steadily, and you might

Nicole Higgins:

not decide to move your whole range.

Nicole Higgins:

It could just be parts of it.

Nicole Higgins:

So kind of looking at, you know, you know, what's working well for you.

Nicole Higgins:

Do more of that potentially, but also, also going back to your

Nicole Higgins:

customers again, you know, if you, if you're already, if you're already

Nicole Higgins:

established, you're going to have an email list, you're going to have a,

Nicole Higgins:

an established social media channels.

Nicole Higgins:

So I would create that kind of questionnaire and be like, right, what,

Nicole Higgins:

what else would you like to see from us?

Nicole Higgins:

And maybe list certain product types that you're interested in doing, or that you

Nicole Higgins:

feel that there's a gap in the market based on research that you do again,

Nicole Higgins:

you know, of what else could you do?

Nicole Higgins:

What else are the other people doing that are in your competition

Nicole Higgins:

that you think you can do better?

Nicole Higgins:

Product price, you know, quality service, um, and get some

Nicole Higgins:

feedback from your customers.

Nicole Higgins:

Then I would.

Nicole Higgins:

I definitely look at, if you're not doing wholesale and you have

Nicole Higgins:

the profit margins to do it, then I would look at doing wholesale.

Nicole Higgins:

If you don't have the profit margins to do it, I would find out how you

Nicole Higgins:

can get the profit margins to do it.

Nicole Higgins:

So where, you know, if you're currently making things and you're only making

Nicole Higgins:

50% margin and you need to make, be making between 70 and 80, you know,

Nicole Higgins:

where are the other countries that you can make that product to get that

Nicole Higgins:

margin that will allow you then to have wholesale as a business model?

Nicole Higgins:

Um, So they are some of the things I would look at, and I think it is really

Nicole Higgins:

kind of looking at what's working.

Nicole Higgins:

What's not working, um, looking at, you know, if you're not looking at

Nicole Higgins:

maybe your advertising and marketing spend and speaking to people, um, about

Nicole Higgins:

how they can help you on that side of things and what the return could be or

Nicole Higgins:

what the cost of investment is on that.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, you know, you'll only know as a business, like what have you done, or

Nicole Higgins:

how have you got to where, where you are.

Nicole Higgins:

In terms of, if it's all happened quite organically, you've not been

Nicole Higgins:

spending money on advertising.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, what could, you know, could that really move the needle for you if

Nicole Higgins:

you started to spend money on advertising?

Nicole Higgins:

You know, so take that bird's eye view, ask your customers, review your numbers,

Nicole Higgins:

um, look at your profit margins and set yourself goals, and then look at the

Nicole Higgins:

steps and the things that you would need to do to, to, to get to those goals.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's a really good overview.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, just a few final questions before we finish up.

Vicki Weinberg:

Nicole, I'd love to know.

Vicki Weinberg:

Are there things that you often see that small businesses overlook or perhaps

Vicki Weinberg:

common mistakes you see that are made that would be useful to highlight here?

Nicole Higgins:

Actually, can I just go back to that growing scale question?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, of course.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sorry.

Nicole Higgins:

So just as well, in terms of, from a growing point of

Nicole Higgins:

view, really look at your website and how it's functioning and if it can

Nicole Higgins:

be better or what else you can do.

Nicole Higgins:

So you've got people, you know, how can you increase your conversion?

Nicole Higgins:

So you've got views coming into your website, you know, is it working

Nicole Higgins:

the way it should be working?

Nicole Higgins:

Can you improve the speed, the navigation, because all of those will help retain

Nicole Higgins:

those customers on your website.

Nicole Higgins:

And quick wins that you can have a look at, I, you know, is

Nicole Higgins:

increasing your average order value.

Nicole Higgins:

So you might do things if you don't have it already, you know, have those

Nicole Higgins:

kind of, you may also like, because you want to increase the value of that order

Nicole Higgins:

once they are on your site and that will help increase your sales as well.

Nicole Higgins:

And also.

Nicole Higgins:

If you, I would have a look at your pricing structure and in, in, in buying

Nicole Higgins:

in retail, we call it a good, better, best so that you have, you know, do

Nicole Higgins:

you have some kind of cheaper price points that are very, you know, that

Nicole Higgins:

are quite pick up, that they don't really have to think that much to.

Nicole Higgins:

So you can use say they're a, a 40 pound threshold and you're like, you know, spend

Nicole Higgins:

10 pounds more and you get free shipping.

Nicole Higgins:

So do you have other items that are lower price points they

Nicole Higgins:

can easily put in the basket?

Nicole Higgins:

And then, on the other side of that, you know, do you have a best, do you

Nicole Higgins:

have items that they can trade up to?

Nicole Higgins:

So if they wanted to gift something, do you have something that they

Nicole Higgins:

can have that they, they buy into your brand, but they also wanna

Nicole Higgins:

give something to somebody else.

Nicole Higgins:

So it might be something that's a bit more special.

Nicole Higgins:

So I would have a look at your pricing structure as well, and make

Nicole Higgins:

sure that you have that, um, that good, better, best there as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's brilliant advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I just have a few more questions before we finish Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

So the first thing is, are there any things that you often see small

Vicki Weinberg:

businesses perhaps overlook or common mistakes perhaps you see made that,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, you could highlight now and, and save some of us from making?

Nicole Higgins:

Yes.

Nicole Higgins:

So, um, some people that, and I know we talked about it earlier,

Nicole Higgins:

earlier, but some people that really miss that research side of it.

Nicole Higgins:

That's one, um, some that aren't, that haven't invested in branding so that

Nicole Higgins:

they're, they might have a great product, but then their brand and their, their

Nicole Higgins:

whole branding and feel of it doesn't maybe match the product or what they have.

Nicole Higgins:

They've just missed the mark, you know?

Nicole Higgins:

So.

Nicole Higgins:

Spending that time looking at what, what you want your branding to look like.

Nicole Higgins:

And, you know, I would, from an investment point of view, that's

Nicole Higgins:

something that I would get someone to, to work on with you, you know?

Nicole Higgins:

And, but I think one of the main things is.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, people spending money in the wrong places at the beginning.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, I've had a client who said, oh, I've, I've just spent 20,000

Nicole Higgins:

on, nearly on this website.

Nicole Higgins:

And, you know, I nearly fell off my chair.

Nicole Higgins:

Um, because that was before there was one product in the, you know, that was before,

Nicole Higgins:

um, there was any product being sold.

Nicole Higgins:n get a website made for like:Nicole Higgins:

cheaper, I don't know, but you know.

Nicole Higgins:

You don't need to be spending that much money on websites.

Nicole Higgins:

I had a, another client the other day and they're, they're quoted, they were

Nicole Higgins:

quoted a very high amount for tech packs, you know, so I would definitely

Nicole Higgins:

shop around for services that, uh, you need in terms of help and support for

Nicole Higgins:

your business and, um, you know, try and do it, do it lean where you can,

Nicole Higgins:

but then invest where you need to.

Nicole Higgins:

You know.

Nicole Higgins:

And, and then the other side of things as well is get support there.

Nicole Higgins:

You're not going to be able, I know I've said do it lean, but you're not

Nicole Higgins:

gonna be able to do everything yourself.

Nicole Higgins:

So, um, it might.

Nicole Higgins:

You know how I I'm babbling a bit now, but I think get support where you need

Nicole Higgins:

to, know where your strengths are.

Nicole Higgins:

And then when you are in a position to get someone, to help you with certain

Nicole Higgins:

things so that you can move on to things that are gonna generate you

Nicole Higgins:

more money, that you free up your time.

Nicole Higgins:

So you can be in your zone of genius quicker.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

That does make sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think, like you say, well, you want to be well, you want to

Vicki Weinberg:

be leaning and should be lean.

Vicki Weinberg:

Ultimately, if you know, you know, you're not gonna be able to use a

Vicki Weinberg:

website builder and make a website that looks professional, then perhaps

Vicki Weinberg:

that's something you can outsource.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'd also probably say that even if you could do that yourself and you could do

Vicki Weinberg:

a good job, I guess, if you are able to outsource, so you can focus on engaging

Vicki Weinberg:

with customers, building an audience.

Vicki Weinberg:

Maybe that's also something to consider.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'd say for myself, when I started my own products business years ago,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, I did everything myself and I didn't do all of it that well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and stretch myself far too thin.

Vicki Weinberg:

Whereas actually it probably would've made more sense in the long run to have

Vicki Weinberg:

invested in a few fit key things just to take the, the time element away.

Nicole Higgins:

Yeah.

Nicole Higgins:

And I think, you know, we are in a place now that there's so many freelance

Nicole Higgins:

people that can do something for you.

Nicole Higgins:

Like when I first was doing some things.

Nicole Higgins:

I was doing things, something on Canva.

Nicole Higgins:

It was taking me forever.

Nicole Higgins:

I'm I'm used to it now, but, um, so what's something was taken me a day

Nicole Higgins:

and I, I used then a VA that I paid by the hour, but basically what it

Nicole Higgins:

was take, what took me a day she did another version in an hour and a half.

Nicole Higgins:

So, you know, from an economy, from a financial point of view, it made sense

Nicole Higgins:

to use her, but there's so many people now that you can get that are freelance,

Nicole Higgins:

um, social media managers, um, that you might need extra support with VAs that

Nicole Higgins:

can do that can help you with things.

Nicole Higgins:

You know, there is, there is a way, and we were just talking about it

Nicole Higgins:

here, in terms of the way there's a way for you to free up your time in

Nicole Higgins:

a way that suits you and your budget.

Nicole Higgins:

You just need to look.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think it's also a worth saying that it can also feel, be a bit of a

Vicki Weinberg:

false economy to do something yourself.

Vicki Weinberg:

If it takes you a week to build a website, but then actually three

Vicki Weinberg:

months down the line, you have to pay someone to do it anyway, because the

Vicki Weinberg:

one you built isn't fit for purpose or something, doesn't quite yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Work or whatever.

Nicole Higgins:

And, and.

Nicole Higgins:

And it's not just even the time.

Nicole Higgins:

It's probably, it's probably the stress.

Nicole Higgins:

I mean, me trying to build a website would bring me out in hives.

Nicole Higgins:

It would never get done.

Nicole Higgins:

I would just go procrastinate until, you know, the cows came home and

Nicole Higgins:

it would just delay everything.

Nicole Higgins:

So I think they they're, the kind of things is knowing what you're good at,

Nicole Higgins:

knowing what you might need to support at.

Nicole Higgins:

And when can you bring that support on.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I have one final question before we finish, and I think this might be a

Vicki Weinberg:

hard one, but what would your number one piece of advice be to, for other product

Vicki Weinberg:

creators or aspiring product creators?

Nicole Higgins:

I think starting the beginning that knowing, knowing your

Nicole Higgins:

customers and why is your what's, why is your product different?

Nicole Higgins:

That would be that's where I would start, because once you know that, then you

Nicole Higgins:

have a real belief of about your product and you know, that it's gonna work.

Nicole Higgins:

So you have that, it helps with that confidence side of things as well.

Nicole Higgins:

So that would be, um, I would say with know your customers and

Nicole Higgins:

why your product is different and what it is, what it can do.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you, Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

And thank you so much for everything you've shared.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think we've managed, I hope you agree, we've managed a cram a lot

Vicki Weinberg:

in a short amount of time, but I think, I really appreciate how

Vicki Weinberg:

actionable you've made it as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for all the resources and suggestions you've made as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I will endeavor to make sure they're all included in the show notes.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so thank you again, Nicole.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, very briefly.

Vicki Weinberg:

Can you just let us know where people can find you and connect with you?

Nicole Higgins:

Yes.

Nicole Higgins:

Instagram is my main platform.

Nicole Higgins:

And you can find me on Instagram at The Buyer and Retail Coach.

Nicole Higgins:

And my website is www.thebuyerandretailcoach.com.

Nicole Higgins:

And if you've enjoyed listening to this podcast, my podcast is Start,

Nicole Higgins:

Scale, Succeed, where I chat with entrepreneurs and also experts

Nicole Higgins:

that can help, um, entrepreneurs.

Nicole Higgins:

So, Vicki is going to be one of my guests, uh, very soon, hopefully.

Nicole Higgins:

And we talk about all about Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for the invite and thank you and I will make

Vicki Weinberg:

sure all of these, including your podcast and links up in show notes as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

So people can find them really easily.

Nicole Higgins:

Thank you so much.

Nicole Higgins:

Thank you so much for having me love it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you again.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode, do

Vicki Weinberg:

remember that you can get the full back catalog and lots of free resources

Vicki Weinberg:

on my website,vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Please do remember to rate, and review this episode, if you've enjoyed it

Vicki Weinberg:

and also share it with a friend who you think might find you useful.