May 28, 2020  
 
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The Key to Business Success

Written by James Garvin for Gaebler Ventures

What makes some businesses succeed while others fail? This is an ever sought question that is like trying to find the fountain of youth. There is no one single answer that helps us determines what makes a business succeed, while a very similar business may fail, however we can learn from the trends that have created success for many of today's leading companies.

How do a sandwich shop, ice cream maker, and coffee shop create some of the most successful companies and brands in the world with such simple business ideas and concepts?
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Subway, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks are undoubtedly some of the worlds' most successful companies, all of whom have built their success on very simple products with very simple business models and concepts.

It is very often, the "simple" that beat out the "complex" when it comes to business strategy. The reason being, simple plans enable a firm and its employees to focus on a single goal.

For Subway, their focus on building healthier and affordable sandwiches has enabled them to become the largest sandwich restaurant in the world. Starbuck's focus on simply providing high quality coffee in a comfortable environment has led them to become the biggest coffee shop in the world. Ben & Jerry's from day one have been focused only on creating great tasting ice cream with novel and fun flavors.

As the great investor and modern day philosopher Warren Buffet has stated, "The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective." Whether it be business schools or executives, the false impression that complex answers equal the right answers has been the cause of demise for many new and existing firms.

The more complex a product or business model becomes, the more difficult it is to execute and manage over the long term. Simple models and simple plans enable for easier execution and execution of a model and plan is what creates success, not the idea or the opportunity.

Many want to be entrepreneurs struggle with the right idea for a new business to start, because they fear many of their ideas are too simple and can easily be replicated. However, simplicity should be the basis for all new businesses. Simple ideas are much easier to execute because it allows a firm to concentrate on being the best at one thing. Entrepreneurs have limited resources and capabilities and often fail when trying to be too many things at once. Simplicity helps an entrepreneur focus.

Starbucks, Subway, and Ben & Jerry's all started with very simple and similar concepts. None of these firms were the "first" or necessarily had an innovative business model. The restaurant industry is extremely competitive yet Starbucks and Subway have elevated themselves to the top in their respective industries. Ben & Jerry's competed against some of the largest ice cream brands in the world yet, they became one of the worlds most recognizable brands in the world. The ability of these firms to focus on a simple idea and plan and avoid being pulled in too many directions is a large contributing factor to these firms' successes.

Rather than worry about complex business models and strategies, focus on the one simple idea that you want to be the best at and you will find that you are able to build a stronger competitive advantage by focusing on that one simple strategy rather than trying to outsmart or outwit the competition with complex plans and models.

James Garvin began his education studying biotechnology. In recent years he has turned his interest in technology to helping two internet startup companies. The first business was an online personal financial network and the second was an e-marketing platform created to help entrepreneurs demo their web sites. Currently a student at University of California Davis, James is spending his summer incubating two new online businesses and writing about his entrepreneur experiences.


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