Nicholas Center Students Provide Vision for Growing Company

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others,” according to Jonathan Swift. One small, rapidly growing company operating in the home décor retail space requested aid from the Nicholas Center to help it see key business risks and develop a vision for how to address these risks. A team of Nicholas Center students responded with verve, plunging into the project by first doing a comprehensive analysis of who the company’s core consumers were, and from there, determining who the main competitive set was given the core consumers’ demographics and preferences.

The team first researched the industry in order to understand key success drivers by pouring through real estate white papers, IBIS world reports, government market reports, CapIQ screens, and consulting white papers, as well as interviewing real estate experts. Through this process, the team identified that consumer understanding was the key to understanding the company positioning and competition. From this, the team then framed its understanding of the major factors that would likely determine the company’s future success.

Performing a careful examination of the competition, the team discovered that the company had developed an effective value proposition and carved out a desirable niche for itself within the market. Further, its target consumer segment had only one purely direct competitor catering to it, meaning that the company had positioned itself well within the space.

As the project progressed, the commercial real estate aspect of the project unfolded with some interesting insights. Their detailed study of the real estate space, the home décor market, and the company’s store distribution allowed them to identify a prime region in the US for the company to build more stores. The team also identified key macro and micro trends in the real estate space for the company to factor into its strategy.

Finally, the team analyzed digital marketing. Agreeing with the company that it should not redirect its efforts to focus on Internet sales and instead use online marketing to increase foot traffic in their brick-and-mortar stores, the team made a few recommendations for the company’s digital marketing strategy.

Through the project, the team sharpened their story-telling and presenting skills while applying their knowledge gained from finance specialization courses. The company itself received valuable vision from the team in exchange.