Reply To: Some Advice on Business



nico, r., 2006-08-06 02:20:23

Hi Ken

As a successful businessman that spent a lot of years in the entertainment industry, what is your advice on how to grow and manage an up and coming company, what marketing and business strategies are the best for a business to develop from ”rags to riches” so to speak? I’m very into the business aspect of things, and I’d like to start a company but I don’t know where to begin. My personal belief  is unlike the business where the $ is the chief interest; my motto would be to serve the customers, for it’s the customers that truly run the company; do right by the costumers and the bottom line will follow. I was wondering if this is the right attitude to have in a business atmosphere

That’s a very open ended question, and I have no idea where to begin an answer.

My focus at Sierra was on providing a great product, and great service, but at a premium price point. But, this isn’t the only successful strategy — there are certainly companies that provide mediocre products, with no service, and a very low price point, and do very well.

In other words — there really isn’t one right answer.

Here’s how I look at it:

It’s all about demographics. Identify a target customer group. Decide what their ‘hot buttons’ are. What does it take to sell them a product? What do they care about, and what don’t they care about? How many of them are there? How much are they willing to spend?

Define your customer base. Size your customer base.

An example:

You want to sell flowers. There are lots of ways to spin this, any or all of which could be viable:

  1. A neighborhood flower shop. Know your customers. Personal attention. Hand selected arrangements. Premium pricing.
  2. An internet flower shop, with direct delivery. Target persons who want to reach recipients in other cities. In this scenario, price and selection is probably not as important as sending a professional message, and giving the person confidence that the delivery will occur
  3. The flower department at Wal Mart. Low price is everything. Put them out, people will select and buy. On the buy side, focus on what is available in large quanity that can be delivered below market.

There are 100s of ways to spin any given business – some of which work, some of which don’t. Actually, most do work if you match expenses to revenue.


I guess my answer would be, if you want to succeed in business – start by studying demographics and marketing. Build good quantitative skills.

-Ken W