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Small Business Digest


A Unique Value Proposition Needed When Entering A Crowded Niche

Openings a new business in a crowded sector can be difficult if not impossible to succeed.

One company doing just that is providing coffee services to businesses in the metro New York City area

Almost every office has a coffee machine and there are thousands of smaller companies servicing these units.

Adam Belanich a leader of Joyride Coffee tells how his company is succeeding.

As a newcomer, Joyride sought to create a unique niche, providing specially produced machines brewing individual beverages from fresh grounds.

Its value proposition and the reasons for its emergence as a leader in this highly competitive sector is the quality and freshness of the end product.

The company provides machines at no cost to customers but charges a higher price per cup. Its marketing advantage, Belanich believes, comes from the quality of its coffee beans which produces a better beverage.

As he explains, “our business is different from our competitors in that we started as coffee people who became distributors.  Our competitors are distributors who happen to deliver coffee.  The difference is that we have exacting standards for what we consider acceptable, thanks in large part to our backgrounds.  These standards in turn, give our customers a significantly better taste experience.”

Already whole coffee bean purveyors, Belanich said the move further into the sales channel was a matter of seeing an opportunity and acting.

“You have to be in the right place to begin with, or you won't see the opportunity.  If you've been in too long, however, you might balk at the need to change your business,” he adds.

Joyride uses a combination of social media and customer referrals to drive growth.

While social media is a prime source of identifying new customers, Belanich cites referrals from existing customers as a prime source.  

“Honestly, our products and services are our best sales people.  And they should be for any business.” he adds. 

If a company is planning on going toe-to-toe with a competitor, Belanich believes, “You must be certain that you will be able to provide a better service at a better price, or you will be fighting a permanent uphill battle.  Find a niche where you have a competitive advantage, thanks to connections or expertise, and build up a business around it.”

Once a company starts to grow, there are problems associated with growth.

“Our biggest problem is dealing with growth in a good way.  It is very easy to grow a company, but it is harder to do it while imbuing your employees with your values and your dedication to quality.  Figuring out that part has been a challenge, but one we need to wrestle with successfully,” he adds.

Like any new company in a crowded field, Joyride Coffee needed to demonstrate to potential customers how it was different and if it would be successful.

One method was to provide tastings to invited prospects who would be able to as he says: “taste the difference.”

Belanich reports “Moving into the space, we were viewed with skepticism.  Larger companies simply didn't believe we would deliver, or even be around in a year.  However, through great service and a longer track record, larger and larger companies are starting to see us as a viable option.”

Despite having entered a highly competitive area, Belanich advises, “Never enter a crowded space.  When growing a business, think not just about your next move, but about the moves that come after that.  Think of when you want something done, and work backwards to come up with an idea of when you need to start it.”  

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