Thursday, July 15, 2010

Make Your Business Different

As I travel, I rarely find a small business which is market differentiated. Wherever I find one restaurant that offers: Indian, Chinese, Israeli, Tibetan, and German food, I'll find another ten or fifty with a sign out front, virtually identical to the last, that also offers Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and German food. On occasion, I do find folks in the middle of nowhere who do offer a differentiated service.

This Sardarji below sharpens knives using this rather clever eco-friendly home rigged device. He didn't seem to have much trouble finding business in Dharamsala.

This fine gentleman served us an amazing wood fired pizza in the remote nether reaches of South Africa. While wood fired pizza is hardly novel in traveler locales, in this particular town, it was the only offering. Also, he had a unique pay-what-you-want approach to the wine, and exceptional ambience using recycled cans cut into floral patterns for lamps.

The owner of a brewpub in eclectic Nieu Bethesda, South Africa, clearly differentiated his business. He was, to my knowledge, the only brewpub for hours and hours in any direction. I asked him how business was, and he said, "Great. Obviously we don't move hours out on a lonely dirt road to get rich, but we get by. People know about the brewpub, they get tired of wine tasting." We were in another town, over 5 hours away, in "the other" brewpub, which coincidentally, the owner of the brewpub below helped establish, when the owner told me how he was called "totally crazy" for opening a brew pub in what was obviously wine country.

This particular business might suffer from other problems, nonetheless, it is differentiated. I have to say, I've never before seen someone haul magic expansion moss out of the woods and plop it into pretty bottles before.

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