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Pumpkin Spice - Have We Gone Too Far?

“The nights are getting colder now, the air is getting crisp.”
-Josh Ritter, Homecoming

It’s autumn. The fairways at the Lethbridge Country Club are carpeted with gold and orange leaves, making it difficult to find your ball (not a problem for me as I am never in the fairway). Children are back in school, to the delight of many parents. And unfortunately, the pumpkin spice craze is in full swing.

I never understood the obsession with pumpkin spice. As far as I know, it was started by Starbucks about 15 years ago, and has since exploded. Everything is pumpkin spiced now – lotions, donuts, and even cough drops. Maybe we’ll start printing our year-end packages on pumpkin spice scented paper. Would that encourage our clients to change year-ends from December to June?

Many companies have jumped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon to try and cash in on this craze. When you see a company jumping on any bandwagon, not just pumpkin spice, what do you think? Especially when it’s a company that’s clearly just trying to cash in on the latest trend? How does that make you feel?  What would you think if we actually did print our financial statements on pumpkin spice scented paper in the fall?

For some companies, getting in on the latest trend is a cornerstone of how they operate. Being innovative and staying ahead of the trend is important for these companies. For everyone else, it can be tempting to try and force trendiness into what you do. But this can make you lose focus from what makes you great.   

When it comes to buying or selling a business, it’s important to understand the sustaining competitive advantage. What key, enduring traits does the business have that set it apart from its competitors?  Note the word “enduring” – if an advantage is only temporary, or is easily duplicated, it doesn’t offer much value to the buyer. Clearly, the pumpkin spice craze has been a recurring cash cow for Starbucks, but it alone is not what drives Starbucks’ sustaining competitive advantage.

Can you clearly articulate your business’ sustaining competitive advantage?  If not, why would someone want to buy your business?

At Avail CPA we can help you clearly define what sets you apart and how to do it even better. Call us today to get started.

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