Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Lessons from Starbucks' Howard Schultz

There is a great sidebar to the Starbucks reinvention Fast Company story below.  Visit page 4 of the article on Starbucks (you may need to be a subscriber to access) for full detail on the following.

Schultz's guidelines for reinvention (with my comments, original comments can be found at the link above):

  • Think like an athlete.  Keep pushing on.  One of the things that true athletes compete against is plateauing out.  Athletes, by themselves or with the help of their trainers, move out of plateaus by redefining their workouts and routines.  Reinvention of yourself or business can be done in the same way; there's even a manual for this called Re-Imagine! by Tom Peters.
  • Team up with like-minded partners.  Complimentary is always good.
  • Dream big.  Why not?  It doesn't cost anything to dream.
  • Stay small.  More than staying small, I think the key is to feel small.  Personal interaction is important; business truly is people interacting with people.

Schultz's reasons for Starbucks' success (with my comments, original comments can be found at the link above):

  • "Customer loyalty is not an entitlement."  People don't have to like you any more; they don't have to shop at your store; you have to earn (and keep) their business on a daily (hourly?) basis.
  • "Great brands aren't built on ads or promotions."  Design products people enjoy and want.  Just because you have a cool promotion or a cool ad doesn't mean that you are really succeeding in business.  What happens when that promotion ends or the ad gets stale?  Emotional connection is the key.
  • "It's no fun being a pioneer."  This goes back to the tip in the prior list: "Team up with like-minded partners."  If you have to be the first mover, you need every advantage you can get.
  • "Stay humble. There is no room for arrogance."  Tom Peters said it best: "People can smell emotional commitment (or lack thereof) from a mile away."


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