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What Starbucks Can Do for Your Business
by Jim Kayalar

We all know the epic journey across the country that ended in Seattle Washington and that led to the creation of the world's most famous coffee brand Starbucks.

I doubt that the original business plan envisioned a billion dollar business, thousands of Starbucks spanning nearly all the countries of the world. There is even one in the infamous Great Wall of China! Talk about success, from Seattle to Beijing.

As a business owner/manager, how can you use the Starbucks success to increase your profits?

What can Starbucks do for your business?

Why do millions of people everyday, voluntarily make their way to a Starbucks to buy a $5 coffee that costs all of a maximum of 40-50 cents for the cuppa Java?

Sure, the coffee tastes good. The bells and whistles and frills of a latte are enchanting. The caffeine rush helps to pick up in the morning, in the afternoon and after dinner. The same coffee product without the bells and whistles, stripped down to its commodity form, plain old coffee also has the same pick up effects, doesn't it?

The dirty little secret behind Starbucks success is not the taste of their coffee. Starbucks is not selling coffee, they are selling an experience.

The whole Starbucks design is geared to providing the patron with an experience. The furniture, the layout, the music, wireless access, music CD sales. If you are old enough you will remember the hamburger ad that ended with "Where is the beef". Well, where is the coffee, because all the above stated are complimentary attributes to the coffee that they serve.

Starbucks has positioned itself as the second home away from home. After the lengthy explanation which was necessary to understand their model, how can you use the Starbucks model to grow your business?

How can you build in an experience into your business model, which would allow you to up-sell, cross-sell, increase the time and money spent by your customers at your point of business?

As a management consultant I help clients that need to fine tune their business models to grow their bottom line. At Business Tune Up, we recently worked together with a main street boutique that had difficulty in competing with its competitors. We applied the Starbucks experience model to the boutique and came up with complimentary attributes that were perceived by clients as adding greater value to the high end fashion items that they purchased. We changed their business fundamentals from selling clothes to selling the experience.

Think out of the box to see how you can add the ‘experience' factor to your business model. Sell up, sell cross, and differentiate your product or service from the rest of your competitors. And don't worry about your competitors copying your ‘experience'. All you need to be assured is to see the bustling Starbucks coffee shops and its half empty ‘me too' competitors. It's called first mover advantage.

The bottom line: Use the Starbucks experience to grow your bottom line.

Jim Kayalar is a management consultant and political analyst with 20 plus years of international experience. He holds a BA in Management/International Relations from Webster University St.Louis- Missouri USA and an MBA from the University of Western Australia, Perth. Jim Kayalar is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) with the Institute of Management Consultants USA & Hong Kong and a member of the Gehrson Lehrman Business Councils USA. Visit our web site at : or email us at

Jim Kayalar may be contacted at or


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