Business Challenges Are Opportunities, Not Acts of War

Business Challenges Are Opportunities, Not Acts of War

The opposite of war is creation.

dont_stop_creatingThat opener could mean this is a deep philosophical piece. It isn’t. I am not sure I am capable of something that deep. But I do know this: Business isn’t war. It is opportunity.

In the 15 years I have been with Great Harvest we have seen the Atkins diet, Wheat Belly, the low-carb fad, Paleo, the growth of gluten-free as a lifestyle and many other threats to our business model. That could be called a war, or a series of assaults. I just don’t see it that way. 

To me every challenge is an opportunity. Let me explain why. All of those food trends have come and gone (except for gluten-free and the “fad” part of that is fading like all of the others while it is here to stay for those with celiac disease). Meanwhile, we are living in a golden age for whole grains. And in an era where people appreciate transparent food supply chains and baked goods made with fresh, locally ground flour.

We have been doing those things since 1976 and understand how great they are. But our business isn’t just about bread and baking. In spite of our name, the Great Harvest Bread Company does not only make bread. We also make phenomenal sandwiches (and goodies and café drinks, among other things).

real_food_for_lunchWhy do most people buy bread? For the most part they buy it for toast and sandwiches. Which is why, at Great Harvest, we make toast and sandwiches too. I read some study recently that said something like, on average, people eat out 16 times a month. Okay. Why not serve that market with the best sandwiches made on the best bread?

We love that people buy our bread to take home and make their own sandwiches. But we equally love making that sandwich for you when you stop by one of our stores. We are excited to offer a convenient, tasty and nutritious fast food lunch alternative in our communities.

To me the concept is simple. Business is a range of evolving opportunities. Creating ways to take advantage of those opportunities leads to success.

The market for good bread and sandwiches is massive. What is the best way to serve that market? One can take the easy approach and do what everyone else does. Buy bread or bake frozen dough. That is easy. What we do at Great Harvest is not. Scratch baking is hard and expensive. But we do it anyway. It allows us to create a true point of difference among other cafés.

If you regard fad diets as an act of war against our business model, you may be tempted to respond by telling people who are following those lifestyle choices that they are wrong. But that is not good business. Nor is it an effective response to a challenge. No one ever got rich telling the public they are wrong. It is for us to demonstrate why we are a better choice and create ways to serve the opportunities. Creation not confrontation.

Are you looking to create your next business opportunity?

What Are the Best Cities to Open Your Bakery? (eBook)

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