The “Milk Bar” Effect

Here in Kiev, there’s a place that’s always poppin’ called “Milk Bar”.

A few years ago, when I was first here, it was reasonably popular. It was almost always full, but you could actually show up and get a seat usually, and you could actually make a reservation.

Flash forward to 2018:

Impossible on both fronts.

I’ve been trying to go there for weeks now, but every time I do go there, it’s completely jam packed from door to door, with a massive crowd waiting to swoop in and grab the next available tables. And reservations? Puh-lease. They’re so popular now they even refuse to take them. In fact, to find this out, you have to call and go through their automated system just to find this out. So many hoops to jump through — by the time you hang up on the automated system, you’re already so far down the rabbit hole you almost feel obligated to go.

What’s the point of all this?

I’m glad you asked.

Because there’s a place right across the street from the famous Milk Bar — and frankly, I don’t even know it’s name. But, it’s really nice place. They make excellent coffee, and even have Turkish coffee, which I enjoy (I’m the kind of guy who likes being able to chew on his coffee).

And, while they aren’t quite as packed as Milk Bar, for a new venue, I’d say they’re doing quite well for themselves. I’ve been in there several times, and it’s full, busy, everybody is happy. It’s a great place.

But it’s not Milk Bar.

And probably never will be.

But you know what?

That’s OKAY that they’re not Milk Bar.

It’s okay that they’re second best.

It really doesn’t matter, because they have what I’ve dubbed “The Milk Bar Effect” going on for them. Namely, that opening a competing business right next door to an extremely successful one would often be a death spell. But in this case, because that first business is SO successful, “competing” is okay.

Because when MB is packed to the brim and people are told it’s an hour wait…

They just walk next door to this other place.

Including Yours Troubly, several times.

The Milk Bar Effect is extremely powerful but also takes a lot of luck to get into.

Many a business owner would have been completely turned off by trying to open right next to MB.

But, the one who opened this new one — they’re a smart cookie.

Rather than thinking in terms of poverty (there’s no customers left for me), they thought in abundance (there’s too many and I only have to have a small share to be successful).

What’s more:

We’re doing the exact same thing with “Selo Oils”.

We don’t need to be The Milk Bar of the olive oil world.

We’re totally fine having a superior product and taking just a small share of the market.

The customers who buy our olive oil appreciate what we are — a small, family owned business who oversees from A to Z how our olive oil is produced. You can still reach one of us by email or phone, you won’t get an automated number.

There’s plenty to go around for everyone.

PS: To read about another company doing things the right way (i.e. a small piece of the piece in a large market—read this Noble Body review.)

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