Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Do You Want to Be Starbucks or Seven-Eleven?

As I sat in the emergency room today with my fiancé, Peter, I thought about coffee. After all, it was 5:30 in the morning, and I needed the java jolt.

What I really thought about is why I like Starbucks coffee as opposed to say, Seven-Eleven's. Starbucks specializes in the 'coffee experience'. That's why we're all willing to pay $3 for a cup of joe. I know when I go there I'm gonna get something made especially for me- vente latte with skim milk. And, I know it's gonna be good because they do coffee- it's their main product.

Seven-Eleven is a different story. Browsing their aisles the other day, I found coffee filters, a lint brush, hot dogs, and great slurpees. It was a hodge-podge of everything. Truthfully, I won't buy things there (except the slurpees) because I know they have so many things in stock that nothing will be top quality.

Then it dawned on me that some people, a lot of ADR people, try to be like Seven-Eleven instead of Starbucks when attempting to build a profitable mediation practice.

Think about the practices you know about. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that the business owner lists mediation, caching, training, consulting and a host of other services. It's the old 'jack of all trades, master of none' thing. Hey, I'm guilty of it too. I offer all of those on and to a variety of industries.

When I think about it, it's no small wonder why it takes so long to build name recognition. I'm not distinct in the market, and I'm chasing too large of a market.

But all that changes now. Today, I vow to become the Starbucks of the Ombuds world! I'm shifting my practice to offer Ombuds services (design and implementation) to firms with under 200 employees. I'll specialize in the how Ombuds can transform the small firm experience.

To differentiate myself even further, and to have a manageable market, I'll pursue high tech firms and CPA firms. How's that for a 'double espresso shot with almond syrup'!

So, watch my site for changes over the next few months. (yes, it takes that long.) And, drop me a comment or two about your quest to be Starbucks.

Ciao, Dina


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