Markcol Coffee Stores – Discover a Great Retail Opportunity

Jumping on the K Cup Home Coffee Market

Coffee is a $70 Billion dollar market and a fast growing portion of it is for single cup home brewed portions.  There is amazing entrepreneurial opportunities here for anyone with ideas and cash to launch it.

Demand for home brewed coffee via Keurig and its K Cup products has grown well beyond anyone’s comprehension. And as this article in the Wall Street Journal points out, you need to know what’s going on in the home to understand how to market your product. Looks like Keurig has done its customer research.

Every once in a while, a very good business opportunity comes along and I think Markcol Coffee Distributors of Bowmanville has jumped on this one in a timely fashion. These excellent business opps usually happen on a wave of new technology, and this is certainly the case. However, competition is growing in this billion dollar sector of food retail.



The more machines, the more single-serve pods get sold, and sales of those are still booming. In the 12 weeks up to March 16, sales in dollar terms of Green Mountain’s own brands rose by 34% over the previous year, and sales of K-Cups as a whole were up 38%, according to data from Nielsen — from article by Wall Street Journal.

Single Cup and the Flavours You Love

I like flavoured coffee and that’s Markcol’s specialty.  You’ll find some really tasty K cups flavours too like coconut, caramel, apple spice and more. Believe me, this place is a coffee lover’s paradise. Visit them at all their locations including the big retail location on Bayview Ave in Aurora.

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Kurig Carosel

Is a cup of coffee worth 67 cents?  The owners of Markcol thought so and have capitalized on the home coffee machine revolution.  They just opened their latest of 7 retail stores, here in Aurora. It’s their largest store and serves the Aurora/Newmarket area (about 200,000 population).

Keurig or Tassimo coffee machines are popular and the varieties of coffee flavours and brand available in K-cups or T-cups have grown dramatically. Popular new brands are Guy Fiero’s, Martinsons, and Emerils and Cake Boss.

Is their UVP and Positioning Sustainable?

Markcol’s unique value proposition is: inexpensive, tasty, coffee packs for brewing at home. The quality of the coffee and tea in these single serving cups is high.  You can buy online too and they get orders from all over.

markcol-coffee-aurora
Green Mountain Coffee owns Keurig. They recently sold their Van Hautte brand. Green Mountain has the power to make life miserable for retailers like Markcol. They’re playing licensed technology games to try and squeeze out parasite competition of the K Cups.  Markcol also sells Tassimo coffee machines and products so that eases their risk to Kurig and Green Mountain somewhat.

There are other retailers in this market too, but none are a threat at this point. The company has excellent potential markets out in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. I wouldn’t doubt the owners get an offer from investors. You can become a Keurig retailer yourself.

Sanfrancisco-Bay-CoffeeFactoid: the inventor of K Cups sold the patent to Keurig for $50k, and the business is now worth billions. He’s just a little bit bitter.

San Francisco Bay Coffee has introduced a 97% biodegradable K cup. This is next phase of single cup brewing as there’s concern that the current K cups will never be biodegradable. Timing these product innovations is key.

As you can see, they’re online selling a good variety of pack sizes and even a trial size pack.

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Superstore, Walmart, Starbucks, Timothy’s and home product retailers are selling these products too but they can’t carry the huge variety that Markcol does.  A lot of shoppers want to sample individual unique flavours and Markcol is a specialist.  The larger stores will only carry the packs of 12, 16 or 24 cups. Their price is about 20 cents higher per cup than Markcol’s.  So right now, business looks very good for this company which started as coffee beverage supplier in Bowmanville.

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Only time will tell if their unique value proposition can withstand attacks from the big retailers and the coffee shops.  Markcol sells all the top brands yet I suspect most of the shoppers are brand agnostic.  The packaging branding artwork on some of the products convey less value than Timothy’s brand.

Customers want their favourite flavours, and as competitors improve their brand image and packaging graphics, they’ll begin to increase their marketshare. This could work in Markcol’s favour.

markcol-kcups-selection

And get a load of the tasty, aromatic flavours: Pumpkin Spice, Sugar Bush Maple, Butterscotch Caramel, Mocca Nut Fudge, Caramel Apple Pie, Southern pecan, Island Coconut and Vermont Country Blend.

If you’re an investor or entrepreneur, check the opportunity out and let me know what you find. You might want to ask the owners if they’d like to start up a franchise in your area. The barriers to entry are low and the potential is excellent.

Check out additional posts on keys to success, networking, and the importance of enthusiasm.

Powerful Promotion: Reaching Influencers

It might as well as be one of the golden rules of sustainable business: The fact that you must get others to promote your business.

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Tony Robbins: very influential online and offline

Finding influential people and developing relationships with them is an undervalued  job. Formerly known as public relations,  it might be called influence strategy today and given the reach of social media, it has a dollar value that a number of people are capitalizing on.

To influence the influencers, you must add value to their network of connections and followers or give some sort of business boost. Adding value means discovering what they need, creating your value proposition, readying your personal brand image, convincing them to accept your gift and share it with their followers.

Complicated? Maybe, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Something for nothing is bad business.

Influencers are highly networked people with the power to reach a lot of other people. They have broad reach in the online world and they may have excellent personal networks as well. They have some authority and charisma. Be a true asset to them.

To ramp up your outreach powers, you’ll need an influencer outreach process. I’ve got 7 tips on how to make the most of your opportunity. Practice spreading the word on your own and you’ll get a better idea of what it takes to reach a top influencer and then motivate them.

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The Power of Networks

The social web is growing ever more popular.  It’s your portal to instant connections with anyone on the planet. And there are people who are well aware of that and have built strong and wide connections online. They’ve become very powerful people.  Some make their living solely via the value of their own social networking.

The power of some influencers is an amazing force for success and profit. The ability to move other people’s minds and get them acting for you is money in the bank. It’s also difficult. I believe a few new techniques should get you started on the right foot.

Motivation: One mention from them can bring thousands or perhaps millions of people to your website. Your video, article, or news item could go viral. At least, that’s what we all hope. But your message will go as far as you’ve designed it to go and no further.

Reaching them and sharing your unique value proposition is vital to your success. But why would they do it?

Why Would they Want to Promote you to their Connections?

Influencers are just people.  They promote things they believe are valuable, or which speak their ideals and beliefs, make them look good and spread their own influence further. Influencers want to feel good, validated, smart, and generous. Your gift to them should generate these benefits.

Before you approach influencers to share or give them your news, gift, or appreciation, make sure your website, blog, and social presence expresses those ideals and beliefs. They’ll promote you with more gusto if they truly believe in you. And they won’t promote your idea if they don’t feel you are credible, trustworthy, and worthy. They’ll check you out for sure.

Review Your Online Brand Image

You’ll have much better results if you have a personal brand image for doing good things and being in on the right conversations. Even if you’re representing your company, you need to be credible and purposeful. If you have no visible purpose, they’re not going to be filled with a burning need to help you.

Buildingyour own personal brand is vital for getting a message across powerfully thus building value for your company. It’s a fact today, that company’s must leverage the personal power of its management and employees. Take a look at what Richard Branson does for his company, Virgin. His personal brand image is complex but is vital to the health of his company.

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Influencers can be industry notables, bloggers, experts, and news reporters. Who will be an effective influencer for you depends on what industry you’re in and they’re in. Even huge influencers such as Oprah, Tony Robbins, and Richard Branson could do nothing for you if you’re not in the right industry. You’ll need to spend time thinking about what you have in common with them.

Find top influencers on Linkedin, top B2b social media influencers, top Toronto Twitter influencers, and top Klout influencers.

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Influencers

  1. Determine the specific value of what you’re sharing — to them and their audience
  2. After you find them and understand your common ground and what they like, you can begin crafting a message to them.
  3. Do a search on Linkedin, Twitter, Klout, Followerwonk, and Google for those with potential interest in your news/subject
  4. Share some of their tweets, blog posts, and genuinely point out the value of their ideas and company to your followers
  5. Craft a personal message to them using an angle that will intrigue them
  6. Explain the end value in a detached way so they don’t feel manipulated
  7. Thank them and promote them some more! Generosity is very powerful.

 

Learn more about unique value propositions and why you need to improve yours. Brush up on SEO techniques and how to make your blog and web pages more powerful.

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Top 7 Reasons You Need Optimal Time Away

Unlimited Time Away from the Office?

Having enjoyed a 10 day vacation recently, and in the midst of a 12 day holiday currently, I’m well reminded of the power of vacation time. That break from the grind can create miraculous outcomes – breathing life back into your soul and making you more productive at your work. But that’s just a holiday.

The break from the grind of routine, familiarity, and mechanical tasks is a real underlying source of improved productivity. I’m putting a vote in for autonomy and mobility as a way to create the optimal conditions for productivity we need in our country. Canadian and US productivity is not stellar. We have to pick it up, and I think this is route we will be forced into.

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There is some concern over isolation and sweatshop conditions for mobile work, but it’s something we have to deal with.


But employers seem to be dead set against giving workers freedoms outside the office. Even one venture to a work-related matter is treated with suspicion. Besides the belief that they’re “slacking off” there’s the attitude that time away from the office means only work from home. Time away could actually be at home, travelling, at another office in town, or at a private office in another city.

Location Independence

It may take time and training, but the outlook is pretty clear: empowered workers with maximum time and networking possibilities will outperform others at a level that we won’t be able to ignore. It’s already happening as work at home arrangements increase and companies outsource work to freelancers, and see productivity improvements and reduced costs.

What I want to introduce you to here however, is way beyond work at home. Work at home is dull and stagnant. It’s about worker enablement and productivity through mobility and immersion in the marketplace. I’ve seen this first hand with digital marketing agencies who have their staff free to be marketers, away from their desks. They learn faster and participate in a way that is comfortable and empowering for them.

Millennials
Millennials will lead the Way

Rising out of the ashes of the 9 to 5 grind, a new worker with full access to their own creative energies and personal motivations will power up the best companies in the coming decade. These empowered workers will outcompete and outperform their unhealthy desk jockey competition. The quality of their work and their creativity capabilities will make them much valued in the workplace. They won’t be chained to a desk.

Unlimited Time Away

The terms “mobile time” or “unlimited time away” either brings immediate derision or a sense of euphoria depending on which side of the work fence you find yourself.  More writers and researchers are into this topic because a growing number of entrepreneurs, investors, and managers are wondering how they can get peak performance from their staff, in order to stay competitive and grow.

After reading an article by Jerome Ternynck on Inc.com on unlimited vacation days, I felt that a better term might be “optimal time away.”  In fact, we’re excluding the word vacation from our vocabulary because that’s not what this is about.  That away time could be work at home, professional skills networking, market awareness, trend experience, or anything else that’s good for them  or their employer.  The goal isn’t escape; the goal is maximum productivity and professional growth. These are sustainable benefits that the worker and company can commit to. If it doesn’t really work for the company, then it is doesn’t work for the worker either.

Top Assets of Optimal Time Away

  • Emotional rejuvenation and better physical health
  • Learning new techniques/professional growth
  • Reduced commute costs
  • More time to work
  • More energy to apply to work
  • More new knowledge brought back into the company
  • Increased sense of personal satisfaction/contentment
  • Improved productivity
  • Better awareness of the customer
  • More immersive awareness of trends, people and events in the marketplace

A Cure for Low Canadian Productivity

Productivity in the US, and in particular, Canada is rated as poorer than other nations. Gallop revealed that only 13% of workers are engaged in their work. Yet traditional work arrangements persist. We should be looking at any alternatives to power up our GDP and productivity per worker. Canadian conservatism could be deadly as we say goodbye to high oil prices and hello to an opportunity for high tech product and service exports.

When workers network and seek out new sources of information, they invariably create new client leads, promote the company’s brand, and grow their own competence. Workers need time to do that. Workers have to be seen as assets not costs or as machinery.

Gen Y’s – The Skipjacks of the Employment World

Companies are looking to get the best of the millennial generation on their team, but it’s almost certain not to happen.  Many don’t even know what millennials want let alone to give it to them. Studying millennials is a great way to clue into the new world of work, competitiveness and profit. I like the millennials, because they’re going to create a much better place to work, grow and profit from as they come into their 20’s and 30’s. They’ll have the power and they’ll make it so.

Creating the Right Balance is the Right Goal

Offering marketing/IT/admin staff more time away from the office is a tough issue. Will workers remain motivated, disciplined, and productive if they’re away from the office too much? Is the office chair the ultimate podium for generating value in the digital era?

Professionals in real estate, marketing & sales, financial services, IT, business development, product designers, and business services specialists are spending more time out in the field, wherever that is, to build relationships, understand their customer, and deliver more personalized value to those customers. Being in the office 200 days a year means they’re not where they need to be and may equate to failure. That’s why company management have to look closely at loosening the reins on workers especially Ontario companies looking to expand to the US.

With our current work/commute grind, there is little time to balance personal and work lives. The result is stress that affects one’s work quality. And quality is job #1.

Being Out There to Learn, Grow, and Build More Value for the Company

frustrated-workerIf you’re an ambitious worker such as a salesperson, content developer, copywriter, photographer, videographer, designer, programmer, it will become more imperative that you carve out more time for work. Copywriter’s for instance need a constant influx of experience, fresh ideas, and other creative inputs to write convincingly. Lacking such experience, their clinical scenarios and cardboard characters convince no one. Impact comes from experience, out there in the real world.

I know of one business entrepreneur who frequently brings his staff with him to different events or meetings. Having his personal entourage makes his value proposition more personal, and more effective, especially in meeting influencers. Another reason why out of office generates new business.

The Need for Employee Development

Are workers ready to make a success of unlimited time away from the office? No.  Sink or swim philosophies don’t work for drowning victims or workers.  They need a context and orientation and perhaps HR departments will be orchestrating this evolution in worker management.

There is a need to be in the office to conduct important work and collaborate (although remote work has shown to improve collaboration). That’s a given. A company is not a collection of disembodied spirits. Second, workers need training in how to conduct themselves effectively. Some workers aren’t sufficiently motivated to do well on their own in a free form environment. Old school workers will need training and coaching.

Even highly motivated professionals will need training, and to return to the office to stay grounded and oriented. And when poor productivity and discouragement occur as they certainly will, workers need to return to the mothership to be rejuvenated by the company mission, staff and culture.

The movement to greater out of office time is coming. We can only learn to manage it to power our businesses.

Here’s 7 Reasons why having optimal away time will power up the next generation of entrepreneurial companies.

  1. Working while on vacation brings personal balance, reduces personal anxiety and depression, brings life balance and renewed enthusiasm about the employer’s business mission and brand
  2. Grows the worker’s personal experience, knowledge, and sense of empowerment – grows the worker’s ability to improve their performance
  3. Shows trust and acknowledgement of the worker’s level of responsibility – company’s own brand identity improves with worker attitude shift
  4. Maximizes the use of workers personal time and energy – easing time pressure and reducing negative attitudes toward work
  5. Helps attract better workers to the company – top performers do not always want more money
  6. Helps retain better workers – your top guns will have one less reason to jump ship
  7. Improves work productivity and work quality – an empowered worker with a fresh attitude and ability to get what they need professionally, lets them access 100% of their creative and productivity capability.
What-Millenials-Look-For-in-Employers
Infographic from Smart Recruiters – Millennial Attitudes toward corporate brands.

Every worker can benefit from improved away time, even auto factory workers who typically burn out after a few years of that grind.

Corporate execs and start-up managers need to be more mindful of how corporate work policies reflect the value of worker’s lives.  Slavery comes through loud and clear when you hear about an auto worker goes to the doctor about their “repetitive injury syndrome.”

In the end, companies will adopt these policies or they’ll have no access to the best workers. As a practical business matter, these workers offer tremendous skill, energy, creativity, and maximum productivity. Their productivity alone will wipe out competitors.

Start seeing dollar signs when you think of the new “away time” workers because they’ll be powering up your bank account and creating a much better work environment in your company.

Discover a new definition of new business development , trust building and dcreating value.