Published on: December 19, 2013
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.by Kevin Coupe
Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
As we head into 2014, one of the stories that continues to intrigue me is from CNBC, where they are reporting not just on a new "farm to table" salad chain called Sweetgreen, but also on the investment money behind it.
Sweetgreen was launched in 2007 and currently has 22 locations on the east coast … it was founded by three Georgetown University graduates who source salad makings "from farmers we know and partners we trust, supporting our communities and creating meaningful relationships with those around us."
These graduates now find themselves on the business end of a $22 million investment from, Revolution Growth, an investment fund headed up by Steve Case, the guy who started American Online.
The goal, according to Case, is to jump on the bandwagon that is endeavoring to "fundamentally transform food in America." And in a letter on the fund's website, Case compares Sweetgreen to companies such as Starbucks and Chipotle in their infancy … which suggests that if the concept can be scaled up, Sweetgreen won;t be just 22 locations for very long.
As interested as I am in the gastronomic trend, in some ways I'm more fascinated in the investment … because in the new year, I think it is likely that we're going to see a lot more of these kinds of ventures.
I've felt for quite some time now that the next big competitor in the food industry probably will be someone or some entity that is not even on most people's radar at the moment. It wasn't that long ago that companies like Walmart and Amazon weren't selling groceries; heck, it isn't even all that long ago that Amazon didn't even exist. Not only can anything happen, but, increasingly, it probably will … ands the result may well be new and effective competition.
So, the message going into 2014 is a simple one: Invest in your business, and the people who make a difference on the front lines. Find the niches and figure out ways to turn them into big opportunities. Know who and what your competition is, and do battle not just by doing what they do better, but by finding and exploiting point of differentiation.
And know that this is an ongoing process that must be organic to your business, no matter how big or small you are. I can't help but say it one more time in 2013:
Compete is a verb.
That's what is on my mind for this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: