Solid Read: The Starbucks Experience

Solid Read: The Starbucks Experience

After reading this book, I can safely say that I will use at least some aspect of their strategic management style in all of my future leadership and organizational management roles. The basic ideas lying underneath the “5 Principles” can be found within many other business/strategy-type sources, but this book is the best example I’ve seen so far of putting all of those ideas together in a simple format and with a purpose that makes sense.

I think one of the best mindsets an organization can have is that there are always more ways to improve; the “What can we do next?” sort of attitude. So I will combine the “Everything Matters” and “Embrace Resistance” principles and include them in my own management strategy for the future. The business world never stops evolving, so if you’re going to survive as an owner or CEO, you’ve got to start thinking ahead. Paying attention to details and developing a culture of “excellence” (as opposed to perfection) is one way to do this.

The way I see it, the most important part of a business strategy is to acquire and retain customers. This is the only way you’re going to make a profit. You could argue that the management of employees, the quality of a product/service, or the logistics of a business, are all equally important to customers when it comes to business strategy, but a major part of the ultimate goal is to make money. This book clearly illustrates that point, though it may not always be noticeable, and that’s where details and culture come in to play.

By details in this case I mean numbers, which we can use to get buyers. In order to get new customers, we need a competitive edge. We need to give them a reason to patronize our organization instead of someone else’s. On a larger scale, the big picture scale, one of the best ways to illustrate this reasoning is with something tangible customers can see, like statistics. If we can give them percentages, ratios, or some other form of numbers explaining why our product or service is superior than a competitor’s, or has why it has more value, then we can increase the likelihood of receiving that customer’s purchase, thus increasing our market share.

As for culture, I’m referring to doing what it takes to delight customers and help customers solve problems. I consider this a culture because it will become our employees’ set of social norms, or what’s expected of them. Customers are much more likely to remember the fact that when something went wrong, we fixed it; rather than if we just ignored it. That’s because when we fixed our own problem for the sake of the customer or we helped a customer solve a problem, a relationship was created and attached to it was positive experience, hopefully. Because of this, we have their loyalty and long-term repeat business (customer loyalty and retention).

This book provided numerous examples of the strategies that Starbucks demonstrates. I know that I only mentioned using primarily two of the five principles, but as a business owner it would be silly to ignore all of them. This book makes a great reference for business strategy and I plan to continue to practice its great management skills along with the newer concepts I discovered while reading it.

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