One of the things in which I fancy myself an expert of sorts is barbecue. It’s hard to get right and very easy to get wrong. I’ve been to a lot of the great BBQ places around the USA and one of the best is the legendary Dreamland. “That’s nice, Keith” you say “but what the hell does that have to do with business?” Elementary, dear Watsons.
Dreamland, until it expanded, had two outlets and one thing one the menu – ribs and white bread. In fact, that’s still all they have on the menu at the original pit in Tuscaloosa. The business lesson is easy – do one thing very very well before you try and do others. Big Daddy may have missed some folks who wanted pulled pork or a hot link but he based their entire business on one thing and one thing only: ribs. And they do them phenomenally well.
Doesn’t it comfort you to know that someplace has been in business with a single product for a long time? If you only had one product, could you stay in business? Is there a single thing you do that’s good enough to carry the entire operation? Too often, the “shotgun approach” of just blasting away, hoping to hit something beats out the carefully aimed rifle. I prefer the Dreamland approach – building your reputation based on a single superior product and then adding on (as they’ve done in their other outlets). It’s much easier to maintain organizational focus this way as well.
And now, I need a rib!