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PhilTake #16 - The Power of the Premise


Every business is defined by six meaningful elements, which I call morphemes. Business success or failure is often understood by looking only at these elements.

Morpheme #1 – Premise: What is the marketplace behavior the business is set up to serve?

Businesses large and small languish or die when they are unable to answer this question. Too often, they can’t define the marketplace or understand the actual purchasing behavior.

Other companies fair better.

Panera Bread (1,800 locations in 45 states) seems to have defined their market as people who want food ‘you can feel good about eating.'

Jimmy John’s food chain (2,000 locations in 43 states) uses all natural food too, but their defined market is more interested in speed. That's why their commercials tout their ‘Freaky Fast’ service and not their fresh ingredients.

On the next PhilTake, I'll cover premises that failed.

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