Who Moved My Coffee?

May 22nd, 2007

I’m a sucker for unusual and expected business trivia. So when I read this on Seth Godin’s blog, I just had to pass it on:

Even after Starbucks had five stores and more than 20 employees, which item was unavailable for purchase at their stores:

a. Espresso
b. Hot Coffee
c. Biscotti
d. Frappucino® blended beverage

Actually, it’s a trick question. The answer is ‘all of the above.’ It wasn’t until several years after the company was up and running that they realized it would be a good idea to sell any beverages at all. All they sold was beans (but you could get a free taste of coffee if you asked nicely). This is an issue a lot of our clients are thinking about right now – how to evolve your business to the next level. It seems to be stemming from a question we ask them from Mavericks at Work: what do you stand for? Once you can figure out what you stand for, you can decided how you want to evolve your business.

One of the examples we use with clients is Amazon started as a book seller. But today – with a set of products that ranges from board games to baby clothes – you can argue that the company has evolved to a lifestyle convenience company and that they stand for convenience in choice.

Google is probably a more obvious example. Google started as a search engine. Today, they give us Gmail, Adwords, and a whole suite of products setting up to compete against Microsoft’s Office. You can even argue that they’re now one of the world’s largest ad companies. In the process, Google has made it pretty darn clear what they stand for – accessibility.

So welcome, Starbucks, to our bag of tricks. These powerful case studies clearly demonstrate the value, and need, for asking the hard questions. So I ask you: “What do you stand for?”

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