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Does Your Business Have a Strategy?


In a crowded marketplace businesses can find themselves as just one of the many competitors vying for customer attention.  In order to stand out from the competition, businesses must find a way to be different.  One way to be different is through developing a business strategy.

Business strategies come in many shapes and sizes, but can be generally grouped into five main areas. Businesses can compete in the areas of quality, low cost, emphasis, collaboration, and innovation.  In addition to looking at each of these strategies in more depth, let’s look at local businesses that pursue each strategy.  And since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, we’ll look specifically at jewelry stores in our back yard.

Quality

Businesses that compete on quality usually offer products that are known to be superior to other offerings in the marketplace.  These companies feature clean and crisp advertisements (often with celebrities), sell in upscale locations, attract customers that value the fine products and top notch customer service, and frequently command a higher price than competitor’s offerings.  A business in Jacksonville that uses this is strategy well is Underwood’s Jewelers.  Underwood’s has three locations in upscale parts of town, features fine jewelry, and their website landing page aptly states, ‘She deserves the best.’


Low Cost

Low cost can refer to companies that sell their products and services to customers at a cheaper price than competitors.  Low cost can also refer to companies that can buy their supplies at a cheaper cost.  Businesses that compete on low cost often offer inferior quality products in order to keep their costs low.  These businesses are located in areas that attract customers or vendors that appreciate the low cost offerings.  Also, businesses with a low cost strategy offer sales on a regular basis.  Local pawn shops are great examples of businesses with a low cost strategy.  The service level, location, pricing, and advertising all reflect the business’ low cost mentality.

Emphasis

Businesses that compete on emphasis have a special focus that makes them truly unique.  The special focus could be emphasizing green practices, giving back to the community, offering a unique production process, or any number of other unique activities.  The types of emphasis to choose are endless.  These businesses often have very targeted advertising to draw in just their desired customers, and their location supports their emphasis strategy.    Locally, I think of Elements Jewelry and their emphasis on creating custom designed jewelry.  They are located in San Marco to benefit from the customers in that area that value the custom experience.  San Marco is known for distinctive restaurants, the historic two-screen San Marco Theater, and a plethora of unique retail stores.


Collaboration

Businesses that hold to a collaboration strategy rely on their partnerships to drive business.  The hope is that through increased partnerships these companies can offer better or more products, increase their customer base, and drive up sales.  In the local jewelry landscape, Kay’s Jewelry franchises perform well using collaboration.  These franchises use their national presence to build partnerships with a wide variety of jewelry designers across the world and create a nationally recognized brand through frequent advertising.

Innovation

Businesses that keep an innovation strategy are seeking customers that are looking for new and creative product offerings.  These businesses strive to always stay on the cutting edge.  Advertising for these businesses can look like infomercials at times due to the great number of new features on each product.  As with any business strategy, there are strengths and weaknesses.  The strength of always having newly created products can quickly turn into a business’ greatest weakness, if there are periods of time when new ideas are lacking.  A local jewelry store that follows an innovation strategy is JC Hunter Jewelry.  This business formed out of a reorganization of Silverstar Jewelers.  After the reorganization, JC Hunter decided to pursue themed jewelry.  They create nautical, religious, military, sports, and other types of themed jewelry.  And JC Hunter is updating their offerings year round.

Your Strategy

When determining a strategy for your business, it is important to choose, at most, two areas of focus.  If you choose more than two strategies, then customers will have trouble determining what your strategy is.  This is due to the business sending too many mixed messages about its core strategy.  Once you’ve chosen a strategy or two for your business, it’s time to work the strategy out in your business. 


Make sure that you work out your strategy in regards to the 5 P’s of Marketing: People, Place, Price, Product, and Promotion.  For instance, if your business has a quality strategy, then ensure that your customers value quality, you do business in a quality part of town and advertise in quality locations, your prices are high to reflect your quality offerings, your products are top notch, and your promotional material exudes quality.  If a quality business has low prices or is located in a rough part of town, then customers will be confused as to what the business is communicating and stands for.


When a business displays a strategy through the 5 P’s of Marketing, the business communicates a unified message.  With this unified message, any business can now stand out from their competitors in a way that the customer can see as unique and appreciate.   

Jared Bailey began working at the SBDC while pursuing his MBA at the University of North Florida.  Upon receiving his MBA, Jared began a consulting and web development business in Jacksonville. Jared’s own experience has enabled him to better assist business owners. As a certified consultant with the SBDC, he now works with clients regarding their business plans, market research and online marketing presence, among other needs.



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