Tag Archive for 'online competitors'

Replace worry & fear with business performance

In his book, Blue Highways, William “Least Heat Moon” Trogdon said his Osage Indian grandfather, William “Heat” Moon, taught him this about worry: “Some things don’t have to be remembered; they remember themselves.”

Owners are justified in worrying about their small businesses, but sometimes they waste emotional energy worrying about things over which they have little or no control, or aren’t likely to happen.

In the movie, Bowfinger, Eddie Murphy played Kit Ramsey, an action movie star also famous for being a pathological worrier. He leads a frightened and miserable life because he worries about strange things that would never happen.

Ramsey’s greatest worry was being captured, killed and eaten by space aliens. He also worried about being crushed by a gigantic foot, or that his body might burst into flames. Pretty silly, huh?!

Watching Murphy play this unstable character is hilarious. But it’s not funny or silly when you and I worry about things that, like Ramsey’s obsessions, probably will never happen.

·  Instead of aliens, how much do you stress out about your business being killed and eaten by the dreaded Internet competition?

Stop obsessing about online competitors. First, you should be an online competitor yourself. Second, without a fixed base, online-only competitors may have what customers need, but you have something more powerful: You know what customers want.

·  Instead of being stepped on by a giant foot, do you obsess about being squashed by one of the Big Boxes?

In The Age of the Customer, prospects often rule you in or out before they know how much you charge. You can establish a level of relevance with prospects and customers that no Big Box can, as they continue to focus first on being competitive.

·  Instead of bursting into flames, do you wake up in the night obsessing that your business might go up in smoke if customers abandon you?

In The Age of the Customer, you actually should obsess about customer expectations, otherwise they won’t really leave, you’ll just become irrelevant.

Instead of living a frightened and miserable life like Kit Ramsey, put that energy into performing so well that any competitor would be hard-pressed to take customers away. Build relationships with customers to the degree that when something they want pops into their heads, as Trogdon’s grandfather would say, your company remembers itself.

Write this on a rock -

Don’t live a frightened and miserable life. Replace worry with action and performance.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Small business retailers competing in the 21st century

Every day, small business retailers feel they’re fighting a war on two fronts: 1) being bludgeoned by the Big Box anchored around the corner, while 2) simultaneously being mugged by an online competitor floating around untethered in the clouds of cyberspace.  So how do small traditional establishments go to war with these two formidable opponents?  The answer is short and sweet: They don’t.

Here are a couple of quick points about defending your traditional retail small business:

1.  Prospects of your small retail business are the least likely prospects for a Big Box. The feeling that makes customers prefer the comfort of customization and connection to being overwhelmed by size is so compelling that they will choose you and pay the price you have to charge to fulfill this strong emotion. But you have to deliver on this emotion with the offense of value instead of acting defensively - like being seduced into a price war. Remember, the price war is over, and you lost.

2.  These same prospects are increasingly demanding that the companies they do business with provide them with online capability.  Small brick-and-mortar retailers don’t have to conquer the e-commerce world, but they do have to have a presence there.

In summary, you can beat the Big Boxes primarily by just not trying to be them. But the only way to stay competitive with the online assault is by incorporating an online strategy with your traditional model, which means a website at a minimum - at least e-shopping, if not an e-commerce component - plus the methodical collection of customer contact information, serving a periodic connection strategy to stay top-of-mind.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the future of small business retail with Darlene Quinn. Darlene is a journalist, the author of Webs of Power and a member of my Brain Trust.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and be sure to leave your own thoughts about small business retail in the 21st century. Listen Live! Download, Too!




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