September 17, 2012
This whole post idea was sparked thanks to an article I read in August’s Vanity Fair magazine this past weekend. If you have a chance to get your hands on it I highly recommend it as the article titled How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo is an excellent case study for how a smaller player can completely surpass the reigning giant in its industry.
You will have to bear with me because the whole article was about technology and not food but there were a bunch of business lessons in the piece that I thought were worth mentioning. In a nutshell, the article is about how Microsoft went from absolutely dominating the technology sphere to falling so far behind Apple that now the iPhone product along brings in more revenue than the entire Microsoft corporation! This is even more impressive when you learn that as of 2000 Apple had a negligible market share in comparison to Microsoft – so much so that Microsoft didn’t even really consider them a compeitor in the marketplace.
So what’s the number #1 lesson from Apple? Be An Innovator!
It’s hard to be truly competitive as a small guy if all you do is follow what everyone else is doing. You have to innovate – whether it’s by unique product combinations, through “wowza” customer service that goes above and beyond, by anticipating consumer trends and moving quicker to get what customers in front of them than the BIG Brands can react, or getting your message in front of your customers in new ways. Simply trying to do what everyone before you has done makes it hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Being innovative though – truly pushing the boundaries of that box – is what will set you apart.
What do you think? Have you done or have you seen anything really innovative in the artisan food space lately?