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5 Things a Corporate Giant Teach a Nonprofit Consultant, by Nonprofit Consultant Zone

5 Things a Corporate Giant Teach a Nonprofit Consultant

Okay, I’ll confess to spending way too much time in Starbucks. In fact, I’m writing this post at one. Maybe it’s the caffeine fueled synapses, the white noise background or comfortable but not-too-comfortable seat, but just look around for a few minutes and you can see why Starbucks is successful and how a nonprofit consultant can learn a lot from them.

Here’s five:

  1. Are you relate-able? If nothing else, Starbucks trains people to be nice. Being nice doesn’t cost us anything, and it doesn’t mean that your either vulnerable or easily taken advantage of. In fact, if you want to be cynical about it, being pleasant is a great way of getting other people to do what you want them to do, like buying from you.
  2. Do you have a system? Starbucks is all about systems. Systems are huge. The advantage of a system? A well designed system lets you put your thinking energies into projects that require a real brain power, not just “turning the crank.”
  3. Does foster connections? The Starbucks environment fosters connections. What do you do to encourage connections and networks that focus on your business?
  4. Do you have a product that people want to come back for? Okay, your product may not be as addictive as caffeine. Still, it helps if one of your services or products is something that a nonprofit might want year after year, like annual fund letters, for example.
  5. Do you have a variety of products for a variety of clients? You think Starbucks and you think coffee, but there’s other menu items to satisfy other’s tastes, like tea, water sandwiches and more.

Here’s a bonus: How about the dozens of variations on the simple “Tall Black Coffee,” (my favorite) that increase profits. Get a triple backflip soy white lite latte? (No, don’t go looking – I made that up.) You’ll pay 3 to 4 times my black coffee for only a bit more syrup and a dime’s worth of soy milk.

What do you do that is more work, but not that much more work, that gets you a better profit margin?  

Your task his week? Sit in a Starbucks and just watch (I hear you can now sit without buying anything!) You’ll get some good business ideas, and maybe a caffeine buzz from just being there!


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