With an abundance of “stuff” all around us, it’s easy to think that the road to success is paved with bargains. People want more and they want it cheap, right?

Is it even possible to build a business that’s comfortable by stocking its shelves with products that cost more than average?

Sure, it is. Even in this economy (no excuse, people!), companies are making a killing on premium products that you’re buying.

Apple is doing it. So is Harley Davidson. The makeup brand I use, Jane Iredale, is doing it too. Heck, I would probably even put Starbucks in that category. My new go-to drink is over $5.

Passion-driven businesses are built around the fact that the customer is as passionate as the business owner. That the zeal for quality & distinctiveness is a shared trait between merchant & patron. Further, the passion they share is not only at face value – for a great computer, motorcycle, or mineral foundation – but for an underlying purpose – design, culture, or beauty.

Purpose is a nonnegotiable. Business owner & customer either share it – and do business happily – or they don’t.

Passion-driven businesses lose money on “…maybe”.

Passion doesn’t allow for compromise on the things that matter most to you. And not compromising rarely allows for a deal.

What is beyond compromise in your business?
  • Level of service?
  • Quality of materials?
  • Craftsmanship?
  • Vision of success?
  • Start to finish method?
  • Source of materials?
  • Consistency?
  • Ease of use?
  • Sustainability?

How could you expand your market of passionate customers by focusing on the highest quality regardless of price?

Inevitably, your passion for your service, product, or vision means that you can check off a whole list of nonnegotiables. Take, for instance, Henry Sidel, who has a passion for Japanese culture:

“I never thought I’d start a business,” says Sidel, now 43. It wasn’t entrepreneurship that excited him — it was his passion for all things Japanese.

Sidel first visited the country as a homestay college student in 1987, later returning after graduation to live there for a time and learn the language. Over the years, he made several more trips, but his interests didn’t converge until a 2001 sake tasting at a New York restaurant. The spirits, shall we say, moved him. (Joanna Krotz, Turning Passion Into Profits)

Think he’s hocking the cheap stuff? No way. Someone who is passionate about the culture, the product, and the people doesn’t care too much about the price. He’s interested in connecting the best, most interesting sake with the people who appreciate it as much as he does.

His nonnegotiables have to do with showcasing different regions of Japan, promoting artisans, and featuring unique flavors. And he does this all with another quirk of high-end business: a limited menu.

Sidel is also ranks education & events among his nonnegotiables. It’s not just about selling, it’s about creating an experience.

My guess is that your dream for your business is not much different. You dream of a business where you attract customers who love what you do as much as you do. Who are in it for the experience and not just another cheap thrill. Who value your expertise, your passion, and your vision. Who happily hand over the cash because – regardless of what the rest of the world thinks – it’s worth it to them.

The thing is, this type of business doesn’t evolve into a high-end business. It’s designed as a high-end business.

Think again of that dream-of-a-business we were just envisioning.

What changes could you make in the structure or operation of your business to make it more like the “if only” business you dream of?

What decisions have you been avoiding because of your fear of the “high-end?”

Leave your response below!

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