What Business Are You In?

1928-CadillacDoes Cadillac compete with Chevrolet, Ford, and Volkswagen? Nicholas Dreystadt, the German-born service mechanic who took over Cadillac in the Great Depression years of the 1930s, answered: “Cadillac competes with diamonds and mink coats. The Cadillac customer does not buy ‘transportation’ but ‘status’.” This answer saved Cadillac, which was about to go under. Within two years or so, it made it into a major growth business despite the depression.

Peter Drucker’s reference in The Essential Drucker begs the question, what business are you in? Are you in the business of…

…flying planes or moving people?

Southwest Airlines chooses to ‘move people’

…selling gift cards or providing people with a means of expression?

Hallmark chooses to ‘provides people with a means of expression’

…selling phones or connecting people?

Apple chooses to ‘connect people’

…running theme parks or delivering joy to customers?

Disney chooses to ‘deliver joy’

…making cars or making joy?

BMW chooses to…

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