3 Innovative Companies Church Leaders Should Learn From

I believe that a part of being an effective leader in the church is keeping our eyes and ears open to the world around us and looking for lessons we could learn from the marketplace to apply to our churches. I’ve been thinking recently about the following companies and how our church could learn from them ….

Dollar Shave Club // Selling to Guys Without Using Sex

dsc_packDollar Shave Club delivers personal grooming products, such as razors, by mail. The company provides fresh razor blades to its members on a monthly basis and offers additional grooming products on demand for home delivery, rather than selling through conventional retail channels.

Innovation Point: Dollar Shave Club is laser focused on helping guys “shave time, shave money” through it’s monthly membership service. It seems like most brands that focus on men use sex as a primary selling tool. DSC stands out as a fresh example of smart marketing that combines humor and fantastic writing to draw in guys. You know doubt have seen their incredibly popular video that went viral in 2012 to launch the service … before that video they had a few hundred subscribers and after their membership jumped to over one hundred thousand! (Today over 500,000 guys are proud Dollar Shave Club members.) Churches often want to reach men who don’t typically attend church and DSC is a great company to follow to see how they are reaching guys!

Questions Church Leaders Should Ask:

  • How can we use humor in our communication to connect with guys in a way that we aren’t today?
  • Do we take ourselves too serious?
  • What would we have to do to make a communication piece that guys would want to share with their friends? (Think about at the gym … or at the office …)

[Shameless Plug] A part of what makes Dollar Shave Club so great is they give their members $5 for each friend that signs up for it’s service. Have a face to shave? Try Dollar Shave Club and use this link to purchase … it gets me free shaving stuff. 🙂

Trader Joe’s // Narrowing the Focus to Make Big Impact

traderjoesTrader Joe’s is a chain of specialty grocery stores headquartered in Greater Los Angeles. As of May 2013, Trader Joe’s had a total of 408 stores. Approximately half of its stores are in California, with the heaviest concentration in Southern California, but the company also has locations in 30 other states.

Innovation Point: A typical grocery store has 50,000 items items while Trader Joe’s have just 4,000 … and 85% of the products sold in it’s stores are exclusive company branded merchandise. In a time when retail stores are chasing the “big brands” with more and more selection in stores Trader Joe’s is going in the opposite direction. They offer fewer items but attempt to focus more on “massive speciality markets” like gluten-free, vegan and low-carb diets. All the while the company has been able to maintain it’s california surfer culture and proactive customer service stance. In fact, recently they were named the best supermarket in the country by Consumer Reports.

Questions Church Leaders Should Ask:

  • Does your church offer too much choice? Is offering so many ministry offerings meaning that we’re not providing the level of service that we could to our guests?
  • What emerging “speciality markets” could your church target in your community? (For our church … we’re attempting to serve families impacted by special needs … it’s a real growth engine for our family ministry and the right thing to do!)
  • What if you took a “road trip” to a Trader Joe’s with your leadership team and asked “what if we did church like Trader Joes does groceries? What would we have to change?”

Fiverr // Tip Toe into Outsourcing For Your Church

fiverrFiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, referred to as ‘gigs’ beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed, from which it gets its name. The site is primarily used by freelancers who use Fiverr to offer a variety of different services, and by customers to buy those services.

Innovation Point: Currently there are over 3,000,000 services ready and waiting for you on Fiverr … this outsourcing site is a great place to get started in learning what you could have people from around do to help you as you serve your church. Want somebody to look at your church website and give you tips on how to improve it? How about getting your sermon transcribed to offer it to people online? What if you could hire someone for $5 to do 2 hours of online research for you? Fiverr is a great way to try outsourcing … the tasks are well defined and the financial risk is low. Try it out!

Questions Church Leaders Should Ask:

  • What administrative task do you do on a regular basis that is distracting you from your core role? Is there someone on Fiverr that could help you with that?
  • Are there roles at your church that you don’t want a volunteer to do but it’s also not a good use of staff time to do? Search on Fiverr to see if there is someone there that could help.
  • Why is your church resisting outsourcing as a tool to make your ministry more effective?


1 Comment

  1. Laughing cause I use all 3 of these companies…and my teenage son works at Trader Joes. They turn conventional wisdom on it’s head very effectively.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.