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All businesses across the country and even the world, from mom and pop shops to global conglomerates, all fall within one of three main business strategies:

1. Be the low-cost provider
2. Offer higher quality and/or better service
3. Focus on a niche market

Be the Low Cost Provider

Pop quiz: When asked to think about a business that is focused on “fastest and cheapest,” what’s the
first brand that comes to mind? Wal-Mart? Maybe McDonald’s? Those are two of the most recognizable brands in the world, and although they serve completely different products and markets, they have clearly positioned themselves as the choice for lowest cost and fastest service.

But let’s keep going. What company do you think of first when you think of the least expensive mobile provider? The least expensive automobile manufacturer? The cheapest airline? Hotel chain? Cosmetics?

Here’s our answers: Cricket Wireless; Kia; Frontier; Motel 6; Cover Girl.

We may not be correct, but these brands have all made themselves a household name for value—at
least at some point in their history—and it stuck. And that was certainly not by mistake.

Offer High Quality and/or Better Service

But some brands have cornered their market on being the best, and cost is of no consequence. What are some luxury brands you think of immediately? Rolls Royce? Tiffany’s? Louis Vuitton? Four Seasons Hotels?

It’s not just the big ticket items, though. In every market and for every product there is the top quality option. What about brands like Yeti, Apple, Michelin, Disney, and Starbucks?

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Wal-Mart is Saks Fifth Avenue, but both are unquestionably successful and both are unquestionably aligned on their respective business strategies.

Focus on a Niche Market

What do lululemon, Whole Foods, Embark, and Misfits Market have in common?

They were all borne of a niche market need. Luxe athleisure; organic foods; boutique pet care; food waste initiatives. Many companies serving a niche need never become a household name, but they are successful nonetheless.

And the ones that do become household names may have actually been the catalyst for driving a trend from niche to mainstream—the ultimate indicator of a niche “rags to riches” story indeed.


No matter a company’s primary market strategy, they will need the core strengths that any successful companies have. Among those strengths is exactly what we care about most: plan, execution, and achievement of a team vision.