If your a small-business owner, this title may have caught you be surprise. Who wants competition?
Business owners often see competition only as something that detracts from their own bottom line.
Well, you may want to think differently.
First, competition keeps you on your toes. Just by their presence, you need to stay better tuned to what is going on in the marketplace.
Second, strong businesses have a focus. Without competition, you may tend to spend less time developing your specific focus or edge. What you have may not fully meet the customer’s needs but, you rationalize, what choice do they have. They actually have a huge choice and that is not buying from you at all.
Third, competition builds a bigger market. This occurs in two ways. First, more people in the local marketplace are exposed to the items on which you compete. That’s a good thing as more people being aware typically makes more buyers. Some of the demand will result in increased sales for you.
A bigger market is also built because your area becomes a go-to destination. Customers will more likely to find larger selections, a better chance of everything being in stock, and perhaps better deals.
Last, and maybe most important, is competition means there is a market. Over the years, I have worked with business owners who have been happy they have found a business opportunity that no one else is in. Well, there was a reason. People didn’t want the product or service. So the “opportunity” became a resource pit that took their time, money and energy.
None of this is to say that sometimes there really is too much competition out there. Trying to find a toehold in an over-saturated market also can use your resources that could best be spent somewhere else.
So when you see competition, don’t despair. Respect what it may bring. Realize you may need to sharpen your game. And take on the challenge.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.