(part 2 in a series of 3)
As the movie goes: Kathleen Kelly denies, for a good chunk of the movie, that Fox & Sons Bookstore is a threat to her own bookstore. She says it’s a fad, shiny and new, and will wear out quickly because there’s no personalized service and the employees don’t actually read books. Spirited words, yes! What did she do next?
Nothing. That is, until she was encouraged by her friends, employees, and boyfriend. Oh, yes, and by Joe Fox himself, a.k.a. NY152 AOL email/chat buddy, when he told her “go to the mattresses and fight”. She does, finally, but this advice was heeded too late and she ended up closing her shop.
What went wrong?
- Denial. Sounds simply and silly, right? Yet how many of us are in denial of a new business competitor? Competition can hurt or help your business, so it’s wise to keep eyes and ears open as to what they are doing. Walk in and take a look around. Notice their products, prices, fliers, POS system — even their lighting.
- Complacency. Business owners can get comfortable in their own neighborhood, sometimes too comfortable. They may be okay with competition coming in, not recognizing a potential threat (or boon) to their own bottom line. Research. Find out how the new guy ticks, what their marketing strategy is, what products or services they offer. This critical to not only keep your business afloat, but alive and kicking.
- Analysis Paralysis. Business owners can find tips on marketing, sales, and business best practices. Once you find out what the competition is doing, take some time to come up with a marketing strategy to keep in touch with your current clients. If too much time is taken, you can miss an opportunity and lose more than a sale.
While businesses should stay flexible enough to adjust to trends or offer a special, creating a marketing strategy should never be a reactive response to competition. Marketing should be a continual flow of ideas, tips, and advice (and the occasional sale) to your clients and prospects, keeping your business TOMA — Top Of Mind Awareness — to both. Move prospects through your sales funnel until they convert to customers, one step at a time.
Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion in this series.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.