What is Your Small Business Technicoloured Coat?

Firstly, it is very important to have a Technicoloured coat, because this is what sets you apart from other businesses, so if you do not have one already, this is something that you need to work on before moving to the next step. Secondly, you can only have one Technicoloured coat, in metaphorical terms, anything else is a T Shirt that goes underneath. Your TC is the ONE thing that differentiates you, you can have other points of difference, but they are not as strong or as important.

Here are a few guidelines on choosing your Technicoloured coat (TC).

If you are a lawyer or a gardener, a real estate agent or a florist, I realize that there are a lot of others in the same market, so your technicoloured coat is not going to be that you are a florist. But what about the fact that you may specialize in roses for weddings, or that you are the only florist in Southport, or that you are the only florist with 20 years of experience in making gift baskets. This is not the only thing that you or the only advantage or selling point that you have, but this is the major one that stands you out from other businesses.

Let us look at some areas that can stand you apart from the rest.


Are you only Pilates Physio in Ellerslie, are you the only Mens Barber in Bethlehem? The only business to specialize in offering something in a certain region. A location based Technicoloured Coat is something that will make you stand out from people within that region, for example if you are the only school uniform suppliers in Whangarei, then great for those in Whangarei but people in Sydney do not care about that. This is quite fine if you are only selling to people in Whangarei, but do not make your Technicoloured coat location based if you are trying to sell outside of that region. There is one case though where you can break this rule, when the location is something beneficial in itself eg. The only Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris grown on the slopes of Te Mata Peak and is sold all around the world, the fact that it is NZ made is appealing to foreign buyers and Hawkes Bay has other attributes in the wine industry.


Have you been a painter for 30 year or have you traveled to 10 different countries researching the residential architecture? Are you the only nutritionist to have written a thesis on the continued effects of childhood obesity? The only specialist in tropical fish to have worked in a famous aquarium before starting your own business. Experience is a strong Technicoloured coat to have as it is very hard to replicate by the competition eg. You can not get 30years experience over night. Make sure that your experience is relevant though, if you have 30years experience in signwriting, then great, especially if you could say we have been in business for 30years and still have clients since one day. This all shows that you must offer great service and know what you are doing as you wouldnt be in business otherwise. It is when a business shows that they have 30years experience in painting and yet they are pitching for my car signage that I wonder about their credentials. So make it relevant or dont make experience your technicoloured coat.


Is there an area that you specialize in? Specalize in residential property sales over 1million dollars or specialize in selling Mountain bikes and equipment. This TC is one of the easiest to control, but everything you do needs to be focused around your specialty to build up the reputation. If the Mountain Bike shop also stocked kids bikes and some road bikes and some touring cruisers, then they are muddying the waters of their specialty. Be careful not to specialize too narrowly eg. Selling only Downhill Mountain bikes. This can narrow your market too very, the upside of it is that the Downhillers see you as a specialist store. My word of warning here is to ensure that you have enough people within your market to specialize that narrowly, if yes, then fantastic you have found yourself a Technicoloured Coat.


I do warn you that price is a dangerous one, because it is easy to be undercut on price and you are then left with little differentiation. Price can help back up your specialist area, but it should not be yours only point of difference. A cheap price can often undo the perception of your expertise or specialty, so do be careful here. Price can be your under-shirt as in you are a specialist Running Shoe store, and you have some of the best prices in town. It is not your Technicoloured coat though, that is being the specialist in Running Shoes.


It could be that you are the only business to package together Roofing, Plumbing and Electrical. Packages can often be easily replicated without it is your experience and knowledge that is your point of difference. Packages can be a great way of becoming a one-stop-shop for consumers so there before you are selling the convenience, if I could go to one place to get my hair, nails and facial done, it saves going to three different places, if A real estate agent, lawyer and mortgage broker all combined forces, it could make the house buying process a lot easier. So what is a way in which you could package your own products or services or combine with others to create a package that stands you out from the rest.

A Guarantee or Warranty

This can be a Technicoloured coat, if you are the only Plumber to guarantee no leaks in your shower installations, or a business coach who guarantees a 20% increase in a customers bottom line. Maybe you are the only nutritionist to guarantee that if you dont lose 10kg you will get your money back. Be careful though that you can follow through with the guarantee and that it is not going to make you bankrupt. If you are not willing to put your money where your mouth is in terms of your warranty to back it up, then it could do your business a lot of harm in the future.

Brands and Range

You may have exclusivity on a certain brand for a certain area, this does fall into Location too, stocking certain brands can make you stand out. So too can having the widest range or an exclusive range. Some brands can back up a Specialist Technicoloured Coat too, if that is a sort after brand or range of brands for that specialist area. With a service it could be one person's brand that stands them out from the rest, this is generally based on experience or specialty. So choose the strongest of the three for that to become the Technicoloured Coat.

So, do you now have a Technicoloured coat? To be able to use this Technicoloured coat it needs to be in a strong sentence.

This becomes your mantra in terms of letting the world know how you are different. For example:

– We are the only Plumbers with a 10year no leak guarantee.

– We are the only qualified physiotherapist, pilates business in the central Auckland region.

– We specialize in cost effective marketing for small businesses

– We specialize in high end NZ and Italian furniture.

This statement becomes your internal Marketing Mantra. When you are putting together an ad, an editorial or your website, you need to ask yourself, am I conveying my Technicoloured coat. In hindsight you could even create your brand name around this statement. It must become the basis from which you promote your business, product or service because this is the thing that stands you out from the crowd.

Why, promote yourself as being the same as everyone else? If everyone was selling banana cakes made from the same recipe at the same school fair, it is going to be pretty hard to stand out, but if you were the only one with chocolate cake you have a point of difference, so that point of difference Is what you would promote on the sign on the table. We have to get this right, and from the beginning otherwise we are incorporating in with the competition rather than standing out and having an advantage.

I hope you have found this useful.

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