March 12: Building Collaborations in Adjacent Markets

On March 12, 2019, Kasie and Shennice welcomed Kimber Braswell of Sweetgrass Home Staging into the studio. Here are the show notes:


Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting, DMSB

Shennice Cleckley, Smart Cookie Coaching

Kimber Braswell, Sweetgrass Home Staging

Theme for the day:

Women’s History Month: Collaboration in Adjacent Markets

Agenda review:

  • Learn more about Kimber Braswell and Sweetgrass Home Staging
  • Collaboration in Adjacent Markets
two women shaking hands
Photo by on

Link to the podcast.

Segment 1:

Home staging is service adjacent to home selling. The purpose of staging is to make a home more attractive to potential buyers.

How did you get in to home staging?

What are some of the benefits for a seller hiring a staging consultant?

What are some challenges home sellers have that staging can solve?

What are the details of the services you offer? I.e. do you bring furniture? Rugs? Wall hangings?

Can people live in their home after it’s been staged?

Segment 2:

When we spoke on the phone, we talked about whether or not real estate agents appreciated your services or refuse your services. Without naming those for and against it, what’s the primary objection to having a professional home staging?

What do we mean by adjacent markets? These are the peripheral service providers who make up an entire solution. For example, say you’re outfitting your new medical practice with computers and all that. You may call a solution provider to figure out exactly what servers, desktop computers, hand held devices, wifi antennas, and voice over IP phone systems you need. That solution provider may or may not have a cable and wiring expert who brings in the zip ties, surge protectors, and rugs to make the entire solution blend seamlessly into your desk space.

Another example might be independent credit counselors helping you repair your credit score before seeking a loan.

Adjacent markets are the different pieces of the puzzle to make the entire process or solution work.

The film industry uses a ton of niche service providers, everything from computer graphics specialists to on-set catering services, just about every major production is a symphony of different businesses.

That’s why event planners are so sought-after. If you can pull together all of the resources needed to pull off an event, you’re a valuable project manager.

Sometimes companies expand into adjacent markets. When they do so, or are considering doing so, they may see independent service providers as competitors.

So, in Kimber’s case, if a real estate agent wanted to charge the client a staging fee and stage the house himself (or herself), he might see Kimber as cutting in to his revenue stream.

However, growth beyond a company’s core competencies isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, Harvard Business Review tells us that 3 out of 4 attempts to grow into adjacent markets fail. Great examples of this include Walmart’s foray into boutique-sized neighborhood grocers. The companies that do it well, like Nike, create a repeatable pattern for expansion, that is, they decide how to penetrate the adjacent market and then they follow that strategy over and over.

Segment 3

Collaboration is part of the success of many women-owned businesses. While competition is fierce in many markets, growing a company can’t be the work of a solopreneur. Scalability includes the strategic partnerships you make along your journey.

Women are uniquely suited to collaboration. They’re literally the “village” referred to in the old adage “it takes a village.” For centuries and across cultures, women have sought the advice, mentorship, and guidance of other women who came before them or who are working beside them.

In collaboration, women can find other women who complement and supplement their strengths and weaknesses. They can establish credibility and reduce risk by making partnerships mutually beneficial. (More in this article)

How have collaborations strengthened your business?

How do you determine who you will collaborate with?

What kinds of collaborations help you expand your customer base? Your revenue?

Did you formalize those collaborations? If so, how?

Ready to support Start Something, Columbia! Call 803-569-8200 to talk about becoming a patron.

Start Something, Columbia! thanks the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities for its support.


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