Positioning in the Corporate Uniform industry

A KCU startup Journey entry.

I heard an exciting blog concept from Pat Flynn’s podcast. When he started blogging many moons ago, he decided to blog about his startup journey. He would share his wins and difficulties in starting his solopreneur business. 

I thought that was an exciting concept. This blog will be following Pat’s lead. The timing is suitable for a service we are pivoting from my current employer. PMII is a professional sales and marketing service company with clients mainly from the Pharmaceutical industry. Since the client’s medical representatives need to distinguish themselves from their competitors when visiting doctors and hospitals, they come to work wearing their official corporate uniforms. These serve as a branding tool as well. 

For the last 20 years, PMII has been providing the corporate uniform requirements of their clients. So it would not be too much of a surprise to create a “startup” business from it. So we named the company – Kuhana Corporate Uniform. 

“Kuhana” is loosely translated as “Get already” or “Get now”. We use an umbrella word for the companies’ startups; Kuhana Amore, Kuhana Mum&Me, Kuhana Outdoor, Kuhana Corporate Goods, Kuhana Corporate Uniform. These are all tiny startups.

Two weeks ago, Kuhana Corporate Uniform or KCU was just on the back burner. However, when we reviewed the revenues of the startups last week, we noted that Kuhana Corporate Goods and Kuhana Uniform somehow has a steady flow of income. It’s not that big since we look at it as an added service to our existing clients. It’s provided primarily as goodwill. 

Ann, the person in charge of KCU, and I noted that we needed to start from the start. First, we needed to create a business model and a marketing strategy. In simple terms, we needed to clearly define how the company would compete in which target industry. 

Creating a clear business model is not as easy as it sounds. With the standard template we use, there are a few components that are difficult to define:

  1. A niche target market and client avatar.
  2. A truly unique value proposition. From experience, most founders claim that their product or service is unique even though they have dozens of similar competitors.
  3. “Unfair advantage” is also challenging to define. What does the company have that competitors cannot easily copy? Successful products, services, and even product features are rapidly duplicated in today’s business landscape.

We need to fill in other components to complete the business model.

It usually takes from a few days to weeks to truly complete the business model. When rushed, the content is sometimes weak and can easily be dismissed. 

The next step is defining a clear marketing strategy. Some of the marketing strategy components will come from the business model.

For instance, when crafting a marketing slogan, it’s wise to mention the unique value proposition. What makes KCU different from the others? Why should clients reach out to KCU and not its competitors? The Corporate Uniform industry is matured and has been commoditized through the years. It would be challenging to develop a unique business model that should make it stand out in the market.

However, it’s not impossible. Part of the research would be to check on the leaders in the industry and identify their UVP. We need to figure out what’s unique about them and how they have survived for years in their industry.

This is entry 1 of the “KCU Startup journey.” Stay tuned. We plan to post the progress of the other startups.

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