Oyster Raises $3 Million, Becomes Spotify for Books


Offering a distinct service or value is the key to success in any business. Sometimes, even when going up against a well established rival, creating a unique business can be an effective strategy. For example, the founders and backers of Oyster, a New York based startup some are referring to as Spotify for books, expect success with a service allowing subscribers to read just about anything for a low monthly fee. They feel being known for this service will set them apart even against Amazon’s recently launched lending library. For many businesses, the challenge is to create a product or service that is distinct and then to get the word out.

The World Is Your Oyster

Fitting into your customers’ lives. For the founders of Oyster, the idea behind the company is very simple. It’s about creating a service useful to customers. “We want to create a product that fits into people’s lives and lets them find books and read all the books they wished they had read,” says co-founder Eric Stromberg. Gigaom

The cost of doing business. But sometimes even simple ideas get complicated when cost of delivering a service becomes a huge drain on profitability. Oyster, for example, has chosen to deal with publishers, not with writers directly. A similar arrangement may be killing Spotify, with one report suggesting the company is paying out most of its revenue in royalties to the music industry. The New York Times

When A Plan Comes Together

Keep it simple, silly. In businesses the size of Oyster or as small as your own modest company, you’ll always be tempted to be all things to all people. Resist the temptation, says blogger and marketing expert Susan Oakes. Simplifying your objectives in your own business reduces stress and increases clarity while making critical decisions about your business. M4B Marketing

The plan’s the thing. Your business plan is very important in charting your course. It can also help you focus your objectives when creating a business model. Consider whether you are using your plan correctly, however. Your business plan should be a road map for the development of your business not a historical document of the business that might have been, says blogger Gary Shouldis. The Small Business Playbook

Finishing Touches

If the price isn’t right. When seeking to create a business or Website that stands apart, don’t let price be your only consideration. It’s true that products or services sometimes cost too much to make your business profitable, don’t short change your business by chasing bargains that could cost your business more in the long run. Pixel Blog

Attracting their attention. Once you’ve created a great product or service, whether online or at a physical location, you must focus on helping other people find you and more particularly, focus on how to connect with the people who will appreciate the product or service you offer. When it comes to a Web based business, this requires getting ranked by Google. SEO blogger Emma-Julie Fox suggests how to get started. The Frugal Entrepreneur

Alerting the media. No, not the social media! Remember, in whatever field your business happens to be, there’s still likely some industry media that covers it. Distinguishing your product or service may depend not just on the content you create and share through social media channels, but on convincing these news sources to write about or interview you too. Diane Seltzer has these suggestions. Small Business Marketing Tools



Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.