One of the most interesting articles I read in a long time was about 7-Eleven. If you are a brotha or sista that is jet setting especially in new money Asia, you cannot help but notice the all of the 7-Eleven stores popping up everywhere. There is a strategy behind all of this as 7-Eleven is looking for absolute global domination:
..7-Eleven is aiming to grow mostly in South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Canada. A total of 3,132 stores opened in those countries last year, according to Seven & I Holdings Co.’s annual report. In the United States, the chain is targeting urban markets like New York City and Charlotte, N.C., hoping to mimic expansion strategies that served it well in Taipei and Tokyo.
So let’s talk about that “expansion strategies that served it well in Tokyo” because this is one of the patterns and practices that we hood brothas and sistas can apply to our global domination strategies in our hoods.
Toshifumi Suzuki, CEO at 7-Eleven (or 7 & i Holdings, as its parent group in Japan is now known), explains the company’s business strategy thus:
“7-Eleven’s business plan revolves around area domination;” Suzuki explains, “from the outset, we look at an area and assess whether it’s viable to build a large number of stores. If so, we focus our attention on one small area.”
Focusing all of their efforts and resources on any one area at a time plays an important role in keeping costs to a minimum. Everything from distribution of stock to the reach of their advertising campaigns can be confined to one location. “On top of this,” Suzuki explains, “our food arrives faster and fresher.”
But that’s not all there is to it. What we see in the 7-Eleven business model is something akin to a small but very powerful explosion, focused entirely in one area…
“Once one store has been opened, more follow in quick succession. Word of mouth spreads, and people become more and more familiar with the sight of our stores as they run into them more and more often … Although at first, each of the stores make only a minimal profit, once people’s recognition of the brand reaches a certain level, we see a sudden and dramatic increase in both visits to the store and sales figures” he explains, perhaps while standing over a map of Japan covered in groups of tiny model 7-Elevens.
So, rather than spreading themselves thin, 7-Eleven moves in, opens a bunch of stores and takes control of an entire area, the sight of each store acting as a sort of subliminal reminder.
Our Black Entrepreneurial Ancestors Used to Do This
If I’m correct over in Chicago, you had Garrett Popcorn that clustered their businesses all in the downtown Chicago area with no suburban location when they first started. Then you had Harold’s Chicken that clustered all of their businesses in the South Side of Chicago not really far from each other also. This is really the same concept of “area domination” and that should tell you our earlier Black entrepreneurs been doing this strategy in the hood back in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, I remember reading several articles and cats talking from Black Enterprise magazine about not opening up the same business next to each other to avoid what they call cannibalization. Those writers clearly didn’t know what the hell they were talking about – we over here do our homework and realize the more we research case studies and success stories, building up businesses in the same region in a high density area like the hood is exactly what you supposed to do to establish domination.
Notice what the 7-Eleven CEO was saying where it is easier for them to distribute food and products quickly to each of their stores. Did you catch the part where they said they pop up stores all over in one shot so people can know they run and control that area with their brand all over the place? That’s the mind of a mogul and someone looking to take over the world and he basically broke it down for us brothas and sistas to understand how we need to take over blocks very aggressively and then take that same strategy and expand in other markets.
The Takeaway for Us Hood Brothas and Sistas about Area Domination
The area domination strategy 7-Eleven out of Japan is describing falls in line with the strategy we need to start embracing and realize that clustering and collectivism is needed for any African-American economic growth strategy. We cannot have or afford this silly and selfish “do you, I do me” BS that always appear to work in straight failure of Black businesses over and over again. We need to be like “let’s take this block over and dominate with shock and awe” and let cats get their mind blown that one area has gone from being blighted to filled with all kind of businesses in a few months.
If we take the city of Osaka as an example, looking back at the late ‘90s, the city was very much “Lawson territory”. But within just a few years of 7-Eleven’s arrival in town, an incredible 300 stores had sprung up. In the blink of an eye, 7-Eleven had become top dog, and nowadays you couldn’t walk down a street in Osaka without running into one.
Lawson is a competitor of 7-Eleven and when they opened up in Osaka, they didn’t open up one, they had plans all along to swarm that place with 300 stores from the get go. That’s the mentality we need to start having – the swarm mentality like bees and ish to take over a whole area and make sure everybody hear the buzz.
Think about the hustle you are doing – how can you dominate a local high-density area instead of making the mistake of stretching yourself thin? Do you still believe that crap about not opening up the same kind of businesses next to each other? Do you understand that each store that opens up next to each plays itself against the other store and create brand reinforcement? Do you realize even cats opening up the same type of business like camera stores, rim shops reinforce the whole game and everybody get paid – that’s how they setup shops in Hong Kong, same businesses all next to each other.
Bottom line, we brothas and sistas need to learn to create shock and awe area domination strategies of our hustle where everybody in that region know our name. We probably cannot even think of “just start with one store” anymore and I believe we better figure out how starts working together or think big when we take on the world and chase after our mission of global domination.