The Grapevine

Do You Really Want Your Shop to be Bigger?

August 30th, 2016

It’s tempting to think that scale solves all problems – even with low margins, the scale of profits is large enough to support you. But it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. [level-members]

Strange concept coming from a firm that’s sole purpose is helping wine shops succeed, but bigger is not always better. Not that we’re not fans of growth, but the growth has to be of the right kind.

Because as you get bigger, it’s tougher to remain great. That’s not just a bias, though a bias does exist with a lot of people who like to feel they’re in the know – and know better than “the masses” so they value the off-beat by default.

It’s actually true. Think about how difficult it is to make great wine in great quantity. Or great burgers. Sure, the fast food joints turn out a really consistent product. But I don’t think you’ll find anyone arguing that they make the best burgers in the world. It’s not that 400 billion buyers are wrong; it’s that they’re looking for something other than quality. Speed, convenience, the comfort of avoiding the unknown.

But that’s not going to build a business for you. You’re better off carving out a niche, seeking the off-beat wines and being the off-beat shop. Don’t act like everyone else, don’t stock your shelves like everyone else, don’t do anything just to get more sales. Get more sales by establishing a personality and finding the people for whom that personality is appealing. (“Your tribe,” as Seth Godin would call it.)

You don’t really want your shop to be bigger – or even “better.” You want it to be different.