Design = Market
There must be hundreds of commercial furniture manufacturers. West Michigan being the home of many.
Bold Furniture is not large….about 80 employees. It’s in Muskegon….started in 1993.
A recent article in MLive stated they have purchased an adjacent building to expand their operations and planned to add more employees.
Companies like Bold do well when they know their market….have innovative design and manufacture a quality product. They may not get to the size of Steelcase or Haworth….yet they build solid businesses.
It’s been many years since my time at Michigan/MBA. A major aspect of the MBA program was case studies (Havard Business School being the most famous for their use).
In most case studies….a well known company was analyzed for the decisions (strategic and/or operational) it made….some good and some not so good.
Business Insider in a recent article listed 12 such studies:
I always liked case studies….they usually gave a thorough insight to the business decision-making process….a good learning tool.
Forbes magazine has rated Raleigh (and I would suspect the RTP area) as the best place for business and careers.
I knew that in 1986….the year we moved to NC from MI. After several years of getting our business property sold….we were ready to move. Our research narrowed our choices to two….Austin, TX or Raleigh (Cary), NC. Family considerations made Cary the choice.
Even 26 years ago, Austin and Raleigh were desirable place for future growth. Actually another consideration was minimum amount of annual snow. Austin had a little less than Raleigh (and a few years Raleigh has received some significant snow amounts).
All-in-all….Raleigh was a good choice.
I receive the magazine Photonics Spectra….sometime back I subscribed because it specializes in Optics and showcases some intriguing innovations.
The Coelux artificial light is one of those ideas: “Coelux is a great example of how science can turn a simple idea that is difficult to achieve – replicating sunlight into reality.”
Coelux is an artificial skylight embedded into a ceiling or wall….LEDs reproduce the sunlight spectrum….an optical system that is designed to recreate a sensation of distance between the sky and sun.
CoeLux was developed at the University of Insubria (Italy)….and consists of three different models representing different geographies.
Coelux would have been a great solution to living in Michigan during the winter!
A New Out Door Game
The Air Force Times had an interesting article about a new yard game….certainly different than the usual Air Force stories.
Lt. Col. Matt Butler has developed a game that resembles horseshoes and bocce,
The game pieces look simple enough and the product is reasonably priced. 40,000 games have been sold since 2010 and sales continue to be strong.
The business seems to be well-thought out….the next step….enhance the product, expand the product line….enter new markets. Of course Lt. Col. Butler also has another job that comes first!
Seth Godin: “In the long run, to be the cheapest is a refuge for people who don’t have the flair to design something worth paying for, who don’t have the guts to point to their product or their service and say, “this isn’t the cheapest, but it’s worth it.”
Pricing was always a dilemma in our business….in a very competitive market. At some point, our products….service….quality….reputation had to outweigh a low price.
Selling on price alone is not a successful long-term strategy. We had a low-price competitor a few miles up the road….and we lost some business to those folks. However, our name was more important than trying to get every sale. We backed up what we sold and offered products worth paying for.
That’ the right way to do business.
Furnace filters are a common item….and vary considerably in price and features. The more features/benefits the higher the price.
In todays N&O there is a story on a web startup that delivers furnace filters to you door. This isn’t cutting edge technology….and there are other businesses that do this including Amazon.
The differential according to the story was:
- A user-friendly website
- Charge prices that were comparably priced to buying at a Lowe’s or Home Depot
The web site is very easy to use. I plugged in my filter sizes for the “good” filter (good-better-best selections) and the delivered price was $21.89 or $10.95 ea. Replacing the filters every three months….our cost for a years supply would be $87.56.
Now I recently purchased a 3-pack of basic filters at Lowe’s for $8.54 or $2.85 ea. ($22.80 for a year). So a difference for my size filter is $65 per year. I don’t need the furnace filter subscription service yet. (Note: I am not comparing the exact filter from FilterEasy only their basic and Lowe’s basic).
The article went on to say that sales for FilterEasy are approaching $1M. That’s a sizable amount for a new startup business. Is this a solid business model? Perhaps….for some folks buying furnace filters is routine….others want to do it as convenient as possible.