Business Lunch: Food Wine

29 09 2011

Shouldn’t wine always go with food? That seems to be an obvious question, but wine is not always presented or produced with that goal in mind. Sure, varietal and terroir are important, but wine making for the express interest of pairing with specific food? Lettie Teague’s latest post in the Wall Street Journal, “The World’s Best Food Wines,” made me think twice about how to value wine. And it made me think even harder about valuing products and services sold by businesses.

The article talks about how Italian wines are bright with acidity and have an edge of bitterness, both complimentary with food. It also talks about the fact that the Italians make wines to go well with food. Drinking the wine with food is the end goal. I love this focus.

When I think of Italians drinking wine, I think of a Tuscan landscape with a family around a dinner table with wine. It’s a cultural mindset. Applying this to a business concept, is your business focused in the sense that it offers a product or service that fits naturally within your customers’ lifestyles? What are those lifestyles anyways, and are there any constraints against them? It’s a shift in thinking, but how much easier would it be to market your business if there was a seamless fit?

Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.


Business Lunch: Beans

28 09 2011

Beans. Last week PepsiCo announced that its participation with Enterprise EthioPEA (USAID press release), an initiative that aims to dramatically increase chickpea production in Ethiopia to improve both the economic and nutritional security in the country. PepsiCo also has a vested interest in the project that goes beyond just helping Ethiopians; the company wants more of a chickpea supply for its products, including its Sabra hummus product.

As PepsiCo receives relentless attacks for profiting on sugary drinks claimed to contribute to obesity in our country, it’s a no brainer that it decided to invest in a mutually beneficial initiative to improve its ‘healthy’ products revenue. This partnership improves the Ethiopian food inventory and agricultural practices while increasing PepsiCo’s short and long term financial goals.

Shrinking the scale and applying this program to small business, think of the mentorship and coaching opportunities between employers and employees. What’s the ‘chickpea solution’ to provide a mutually beneficial relationship that improves employee skill-sets and productivity while increasing revenue potential?

Photo courtesy of Daily Perricone.

Price Matters

28 09 2011

For all the statements about product mix and customer service, in this economy, price matters. And for small businesses, price really matters. Customer culture these days encompasses all forms of comparing, contrasting, searching online, hemming-and-hawing, and pretty much analyzing a purchase to death sometimes. What to do?

Well, doing research can help get your bearings. Research what your competition is doing. Research the worth of changing prices. Also, try taking the focus off pricing and research options beyond price changes to improve your margins or consumer behavior. Here are a few resources for each:

Researching your competition:

Researching the worth of changing prices.

Researching other options beyond changing prices.

These resources should help you to gauge where your business stands on price and how much that rank matters. In the end, you’ll likely understand your business much more thoroughly, which isn’t a bad thing either. Because your pricing contributes to your business’ brand, it’s important to know your reasoning behind it – and your reasoning behind changing prices if that’s the route you wish to go.

Photo courtesy of Mediabistro.

Introducing Business Lunch: Canal House

26 09 2011

I’ll admit, I’ve been away a bit. As I say to all bloggers (and blogging hopefuls), maintaining a blog is the biggest challenge to having one. Regardless, it feels good to be back. I have great ideas, I’ve been inspired by great minds, and I’m eager to share them with you.

In this post, I introduce ‘Business Lunch,’ a new category of posts as part of my blog. As with everyone, we’re all busy, but eager for information in a short format. This post series does that. I was inspired by a blogging series by the Canal House ladies who provide an almost daily dialogue on what they eat for lunch. My tastebuds not only flair upon knowing what Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton make for lunch each day, but my mind is continually impressed with their discipline to practice and hone their culinary craft. And that’s just it, the opportunity to finesse a strength is key.

So with this Business Lunch series, I’ll include frequent tidbits of information that apply to small business interests and business professionals in short form. (You might also be interested in my Spotlight on Business series highlighting the success strategies of noted businesses, stay tuned for new spotlights coming up.)

Like a fresh ripe tomato with a bit of mayonnaise on crusty bread, sometimes the most successful pairings work best in a simplistic form. Cheers to lunch and information sharing ahead.

Photo courtesy of the Canal House.