fighting the lack of good ideas

what’s your business strategy?

There only seem to be about two strategies that work: you can try for growth (like most companies seem to do), or you can try for the niche that will consistently pay for your product. I don’t know if there are other models out there that work, but these two do.

The growth, aka ‘monopoly’, model is what most companies pick because they think it’s easy: just keep selling products to more and more people. The issue with this growth model is that eventually you reach [almost] everyone, and then you can only continue to grow by acquisition. Another problem I can see with it is that if you are trying to reach *everyone*, you will make many of them very unhappy.

The niche model, which far fewer mid-large companies seem to aim for, only goes after a small segment of the population. But they go aggressively for that small segment. Niche providers might ‘accidentally’ reach a large population segment (eg Apple with their iPod), but they thrive because they have customers who will only come to them (perhaps a good neighborhood salon or barber shop), and those customers are fiercely loyal – as long as the business doesn’t screw them over.

When’s the last time you heard of “loyal” Wal*Mart customers? Wal*Mart doesn’t really care if somebody leaves them and goes to KMart. I suppose they might exist, but it seems unlikely.

Compare that, though, to regulars at a local restaurant: where the waitstaff recognizes them, and goes a little (or a lot) out of their way to make their visit better than some new person who happens to stroll in.

Personally, I prefer the niche approach. It’s the Unix theory: do one thing, do it well.

If that one thing turns out to appeal to a lot of people, that’s great.

I’d prefer a strong, consistent, even if small, customer base to a huge one that constantly bitches, changes their mind, and doesn’t care about me.


Dishdash is a small mediterranean restaurant on Murphy Avenue in downtown Sunnyvale California.

I went there last week with some of my coworkers at our bootcamp. Their menu offers a wide variety of choices, though I only sampled their lentil soup and mohmoh.

Their lentil soup was very filling – the medium-sized bowl really was enough for a light dinner, which is what I had in mind.

The mohmoh, a mushroom appetizer, was also very filling for such a small plate of food.

My coworkers all tried something different: lamb, kebab, hummus, and more, and we all left full. We didn’t try anything too unusual, but there are plenty of choices from plain to exotic on their menu for any taste.

The entree prices range up to $28, but most are well under $20. If you’re looking for a quick, friendly place to eat in Sunnyvale, this is one spot you should put on your list to try.