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After a recent board meeting for my Rotary club (Bellevue Breakfast) I shared my membership philosophy with our membership director. I pointed out that Penney’s is struggling, Kohl’s is doing so-so and Nordstrom’s is thriving and we, as a club, want to be the Nordstrom of Rotary clubs.

This is a great philosophy for our businesses also. Our Rotary club expects to attract successful people, those who can afford to contribute in a meaningful way. We are not, by far, the cheapest club which to belong. Our dues, donations to The Rotary Foundation and fundraising expectations easily put us in the upper 10%.

Is your business Nordstrom’s or Penney’s? This is similar to last week’s memo on competitive advantage. We need a strong competitive advantage. A lot of (large) companies can be very profitable serving the masses. Small businesses are niche businesses and must strive to offer more than just the best price. Are you doing your best to carve out your niche based on quality, service and value?

“If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

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