Simply Focused


Our local newspaper, The Tennessean, recently ran an interesting interview with David Oreck. He has built an extremely solid business and suggested that two key lessons are essential to building a product or brand (or retail store). Oreck, after detailing his success, first at RCA, then as the entrepreneurial leader of his own company, points to these two things: Find a Niche and Focus on That. Simple but very important concepts.

FIND A NICHE. What does your company do better than anyone else? Where in the marketplace can you succeed despite tremendous competition? What is the niche (customer, product, service) that you can serve better than anybody? Think about it, what makes you stand out? This concept is simply but will guide you to create as simple, yet compelling proposition for your customers. In your own experience when you think of buying a cup of coffee, who first comest to mind? How about buying a book? When you think about shopping on-line, what on-line retailer comes to mind first? Or, if you need a pair of athletic shoes? For me, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and New Balance quickly come to mind. Why? Because in my world as a customer they own the product niche. Now, your answers can be different, the important lesson for business owners and retailers is that somebody “owns” that niche in your mind. If they can with their product or service, why can’t you with yours?

FOCUS ON THAT. So many times were tempted to drift into so many things that don’t help us create the niche in the customer’s mind. We become generalists, we try to please everyone and forget that the niche player usually can charge more and satisfy people they serve. What one thing can you do well, and do you have the discipline to focus on it? Best Buy is cleaning Wal-Mart’s clock by becoming a leader (in the customer’s mind) in electronics. The number one retailer in the world is a generalist and fills a certain niche, but when a great many people think electronics they think Best Buy, first. Many retailers try hard to serve customers and they drift away from what the customer perceives is their most important niche. As they grow into generalists their loyal, regular customers drift away because they suddenly don’t see the focus.

David Oreck’s advice is simply brilliant. If you find out what you can do best, do it well and stay focused on it.

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