I found a business lesson in the most unlikely place, the hospital gift shop.
It hit me today as my fiancé called the hospital to purchase a gift for a family member who recently had a baby. The gift shop in a hospital was a genius idea.
I realize some may see the shop as taking advantage of people willing to spend money in extremely happy (or sad) scenarios that the hospital attends to daily. However, I don’t fully agree. I believe the service the gift shop offers is one that brings joy to the sender and receiver. It can act as a “good enough” solution for when we can’t it physically to celebrate situations like this, or when you show up to the hospital realizing you forgot a card or gift.
Now what does this have to do with business? Well, it works as a funny metaphor. I think we often get so caught up in trying to make our business 100% unique and stand out from the crowd, that there is something to be learned from those who find a way to blend in to the crowd strategically.
How could you set up a business like a hospital gift shop? Set up strategically where you don’t need to worry about advertising, marketing, or brand recognition. Those items are secondary. Your customers come right to you because you positioned yourself in the a way that provides stability. The positioning you take can make you the easy choice because you are the only choice. That is why I think there is something to be learned by this concept and whoever conceived it.
This simplifies down to a larger business lesson often referred to as the Blue Ocean Strategy. When everyone is going left, go right. When one part of the ocean is over-crowded, find more open waters.