Marketplace Meditations 9/6

Creating Your Niche
September 6


"Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique..." (Song of Solomon 6:8-9).

Every business must have a unique niche if you wish to separate yourself from others to compete in the marketplace. This is especially true if you are competing in an industry that is very crowded with competition and low price is a driving incentive for the customer.

It used to be that a cup of coffee was just a cup of coffee. Then a company came along and completely changed the rules. They violated every marketing rule. They overpriced their product. They changed the language - a small is actually a "tall." A medium is "grande." You get the idea.

Starbucks, the specialty coffee retailer, is one of the great 21st century American success stories. Considered as one of the most successful and admired companies today, Starbucks has grown from a single store begun by a Jewish man in Seattle 33 years ago to 12,000 stores, almost 4,000 of which are in 36 countries outside the U.S. In fiscal 2006, the company posted revenues of more than $8 billion.* Cup by cup, Starbucks has changed the way people drink coffee.

More remarkably, the company successfully transformed a pedestrian commodity into a high-end accessory. It has created a "Starbucks lifestyle" that more people continue to embrace in the United States and abroad. They created community around their product.

If you're thinking about starting a business, or making an existing business better, ask yourself this question: "What's unique about my business or product?"

God created each of us to be unique. Define this uniqueness in your work life and promote it with integrity, and you'll have a good chance for success.

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