Defining Your Value

Defining Your Business Birkdale Startup Blog post

I have always felt that too many businesses spend time trying to be someone else, trying to replicate another business, or trying to be a better “them”. This “Me Too” mentality is wrong and a race to the bottom.

Let’s say you want to create an online store, are you going to build an easier checkout system than what Wal-Mart has?  Are you going to offer more auto parts than Advanced Auto Parts?  Will you have more books than Barnes & Noble?  Will you offer gift cards in every store like Amazon?

Why do you think you need to be a better them?  This is a flawed strategy.

Starbucks is who they are because they were unique.  Amazon has their position because they were unique. Additionally, Tesla is a unique type of car.

These companies have defined their value by being unique.  When a car company wants to eliminate the need for service, they have defined a real value.  In return, this forces the traditional dealerships to have to really justify the need for $90 oil changes.  (Synthetic means fake, FYI.)  Consumers have a clear choice.  Tesla didn’t set out to provide a better dealership and service experience.

If you are a coffee shop, don’t try and compete with Starbucks.  Just be your type of coffee shop.  Figure out where Starbucks is missing the mark, and go be that thing.  Last time I went to a Starbucks it was freezing cold with no seats.  The coffee station was a mess and the bathrooms were filthy.  Why would you want to be that?

Amazon is fast to ship, but they are controlling the search results.  They steer people to what they think they should buy.  Unknowingly, consumers rarely go past page 1.  Why do you want to do that?  They may offer choices but it isn’t as advertised.  Go solve a problem by being the best at something else, something unique. No store, Amazon included, can be the best at everything.

I am a runner.  I don’t want to buy my gear from someone who also sells dress shoes and belts.  I don’t wear a belt when I run and dress shoes are a very different fit.  My cadence is important to the shoe I wear.  How my ankles roll in conjunction with my foot and how many miles I run.  Amazon can’t solve these issues for me.  So, I go to a store that specializes in running.  They don’t want to be Amazon, they want to be a good running store.

Figure out your value and never try to be someone else.