Chill with all the competition BS
The Ball Python Market is unlike any other industry or business out there, but like many things in life most people tend to latch on to their preconceived notions of how to win in business. To be a successful business person you have to outcompete and crush the competition… right? Well in the ball python market, industry, hobby or whatever the hell it is… this could not be further from the truth. You see the Ball Python industry is not your typical business.
Fact: Your customer is not your competition… they’re your customer. They can’t be both… if you treat your customers and potential customers as the competition and you are successful at crushing them guess what happens to you? Simple, self-annihilation… without customers we have no business and the hobby will slowly die. With over 7 Billion people in the World this hobby (I’m going with hobby business) has the ability to grow exponentially. The fact of the matter is new people are entering the exotic pet hobby every day all around the World. I believe its the fastest growing segment of the pet industry Globally. We are really just scratching the surface and as people become better educated and exposed to this cool hobby more are going to join the reptile nation Globally.
As far as the High-end Ball Python market goes, when someone has success it drives market growth exponentially. First of all they gain confidence and are encouraged to invest more. Secondly, others who are watching from the sidelines also gain confidence and are more likely to invest and join in the fun. This drives growth and more sales for everyone. So don’t treat your customers or fellow breeders as competition… when you have success or produce something cool… share it because you are likely inspiring the next generation of breeders.
To further illustrate my point, have you guys noticed how one Breeder may post a cool new combo and all of a sudden demand for a particular gene goes through the roof? So Joe Blow succeeds in producing a World’s first and a dozen other breeders make some coin because of increased demand. What boggles my mind is the guys who reap benefits from the other guys success may still be envious… lol. It’s comical sometimes. I have even had guys tell me that they don’t plan to share pics of a cool new combo because… it doesn’t benefit them. They would say things like, well I don’t have anything to sell from the project so why should I post it? Because dumb ass, its GOOD for the hobby AND its free advertisement for you! If I offended anyone, sorry not sorry. Set you hurt feelings aside and look at what I’m saying logically and without emotion. You know I’m telling the truth. Creating excitement in the hobby is not only good… it’s the lifeblood of the hobby. It’s what sustains the hobby, keeps people excited, inspires others and pumps money into the industry. If it wasn’t for guys like Pete Khal, Ralph Davis, Kevin McCurley, The Snake Keeper, and Tracey Barker and others openly sharing… I would have never found the inspiration or knowledge to start Ozzy Boids. The original Orange Dream would probably be sitting in a 20 gallon fish tank in Pennsylvania with a dry shed. These Pioneers shared their cool new projects, tips on breeding and husbandry and helped to make the Ball Python hobby what it is today… A cool ass hobby that continues to grow Globally every year. This is why I post often and frequently… I’m not bragging (maybe a little), I’m trying to create excitement and inspire others who are considering breeding or expanding their collections. This hobby is cool as hell and there’s plenty of room for everyone and so much potential to grow!
Although the main market driver in the hobby is you guys, there are other supporting businesses that are critical to continued growth. In order for the hobby to continue to grow we need external market drivers. Say what you want about money motivating your desire to keep reptiles. The fact is without money to feed the industry the hobby would quickly die out. It takes money to fund organizations like USARK and fight unfair Government intrusion on our rights to keep and enjoy reptiles. It takes money to lead to the creation of businesses that help us grow, care for and sell our animals. Here are some key market drivers that have been critical to our industry…
One of the most important market drivers is delivery services. The easier it is to ship and deliver your animals, the easier it will be to find customers willing to buy from you. Here are a couple of my favorite businesses… think where would we be without them?
Ship Your Reptiles: This business simplifies the shipping process in the US and makes it more affordable and easy to ship your snakes. Before SYR came on the scene, many of us were shipping snakes in unmarked boxes without proper authorization. Businesses like this help to educate newbies on how to properly ship safely, legally and make it more affordable for everyone. And they have the best customer service! Love you guys at SYR!
Dutch Dragon Import: What many people in the US don’t realize is how difficult it is to deliver animals in Europe. Unlike the US, Europeans can not simply box a snake and drop it off at FedEx like we do. You must use licensed couriers to deliver. This is where courier services like DDI come in to help with deliveries. DDI can also help European breeders safely export their animals to other countries. They also help breeders from other countries like the US deliver to their Eurpoean customers. This free flowing, open market that makes it easy for any breeder to reach a Global customer base is simply a game changer. We still have a long way to go to simplify this Global delivery process, but we are on the right track with industry leaders like DDI paving the way to No Stress Global Delivery! Check DDI out…
Once you have the means to easily deliver to your customer or fellow enthusiast, you need to effectively market your animals. The reptile hobby has come a long way since the days of price lists being sent to customers in the mail. Can you imagine? No pictures just a list with prices. You pay and don’t see the animals until they arrive on your doorstep via unauthorized shipping through the post office, lol. Well that was before my time, but its what I’ve been told it was like. So today we have all kinds of cool technology that allows us to market and sell our snakes. In the past few years, Social Media has really taken over and made all of the older online classifieds mostly obsolete. Although FaceBook, You Tube and IG are a great way to reach fellow enthusiasts there is still the need for cutting edge market places that work well with social media platforms. Right now there is one main one that comes to mind for me…
Morph Market: This is hands down the coolest new market place to hit the web. Not only does Morph Market make it easier for any size breeder to post and sell their animals, it’s a great site for searching the exact genes you need. Another valuable aspect of morph market is it’s ability to help you in determining market price for your animals. Just with a few clicks you can pull up similar animals and get a gage of where you should price your inventory. All though I have a solid following and customer base that I built over the years, I do really well listing my animals on MM. Thanks John for bringing us MM!
Political Action Committees or Industry Advocates
One of the least favorite topics in the hobby, but one of the most important is Government oversight. I like most business people in the US feel that Government intrusion or red tape should be limited and thoughtful. Unfortunately its usually the opposite. With special interest groups and lobbyist running rampant in Washington DC it is critical that we support advocacy groups of our own that are fighting to protect our rights to keep the reptiles we love so much. Coupled with supporting such groups it’s critical for all of us to conduct ourselves responsibly and within the rule of law. Lets not give the powers that be any excuse to further limit or deny us our freedoms to keep and enjoy our reptiles. Support your advocacy groups and stay vigilant.
USARK: In the US we have the United States Association of Reptile Keepers. This organization works tirelessly to advocate on our behalf. Without USARK we would be reduced to nothing!
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this rant. I will contribute more on this topic in the future, but I think it’s a critical that we all understand and promote the things that help us ALL grow. The Ball Python Market is not a competition… it’s just different and cool as hell!
Wishing you all much success!
Oz and the Dream Team