What We Can Learn from Costco’s $4.99 Rotisserie Chickens
Costco continues to sell the cheapest rotisserie chickens on the market and they’re taking a loss of $30-$40 million annually. Yes, that’s right. They’re losing $30-$40 MILLION a year. So what the heck are they doing? They’re making it all back + some. Costco strategically places their chickens in the back of their massive super stores so that as we weave our way to and from we fill our carts with 36 rolls of toilet paper, vitamins in bulk and DVDs we’ll never watch.
What can we as creative entrepreneurs learn from this ploy?
1- Ya Gotta Spend (or lose) Money to Make Money
Artists are terrified to part with their dollars. We never know when we’ll book that next guest star, sell that portrait or land another concert gig. We hold on tight to the pennies and try to stretch them out. While there’s absolute merit in that, your business needs investments from time to time to get to the next level. And sometimes that comes in the form of (seemingly) losing altogether. Costco has made bank by banking on losing because they’ve figured out how to build on the opportunity to fix something that only kind of works. Your version of “only kind of works” could be your lack of network, non existent marketing or even your product.
2- Separate Yourself From Your Competition
Costco has found a niche in selling the cheapest chickens on the market and subsequently have one more notch on their belt as to offering something their competition is unable to. They have paired their already unique values with yet another.
I find that most creatives are either afraid to come off as cocky in terms of what makes them wholly unique or don’t even understand what their unique values are. Once you’ve gotten past that, it’s your job to find ways to tell us why we should hire you and it doesn’t need to be on the nose. You can have your own version of a $4.99 rotisserie chicken. It could come in the form of free original content, finding ins to your community others don’t have (networking) or self producing like a mofo.
3- Embrace the Risk
You already took on a major risk deciding to venture into the world of the arts so you might as well embrace even more of the risk of what it will take to edge you forward. This is not the time to play it safe. This lesson above all others is probably what we can glean most from Costco’s rare business move.
All in all, let me continue to reiterate that it will very rarely, if ever, be enough for a creative to simply assume their art will climb its way to the top on merit alone. While this has to do with saturation, it also has to do with the fact that the lack of structure within our industries doesn’t allow for the decision makers to even truly weed out the good from the bad. We’ve ALL had that feeling of “Well – I could do that.” or “How did they get that job?” It’s not your fault and it’s not theirs…it’s the collective’s. So if we find our own version of a $4.99 rotisserie chicken to sell to our base, we might take a loss in the immediate but see huge profits down the road.