The Other Guy Down on the Corner or the Behemoth Out to Crush You
My Grandfather had a legacy that he took over from his father-in-law. He owned a shoe store. No he didn’t inherit the whole store. He had to make sales from his portion of the store and buy the other beneficiaries out to be the sole owner. He did that with his personality and love of people. My Grandfather was a master salesman.
The competition – he knew them well. He even knew who to call for a type of shoe he didn’t have. Making sure they had the shoes in stock, grandpa would send the customer to them, and let the competitor know they were coming.
The customer came first. I saw that as a stock boy in my grandfather’s shoe store.
Grandpa retired before the franchise kings came along. The stores owned by big conglomerates posing to be independent chains would wipe out stores like his. Sound like a conspiracy theory? They’ve stated themselves, “Competition is bad.”
Exploitation Lowers Costs & Quality
Walmart has rubbed out plenty of mom and pop stores across the country that can’t compete. This was not Sam Walton’s dream. He wanted to help get quality to those who couldn’t afford it. He also wanted to treat employees with value. That was turned on its head when he died by those who took it over.
Lower wages, reduced commissions for suppliers, and prices does make for a higher profit margin. It also leads to inferior products and services. How does it succeed? By wiping out the little guys. Buyers are psychologically conditioned to get it for less or free even if it is garbage. The smaller business only offers quality...
Still that quality can be enough for success. What if that works?
Then the behemoth will make an offer – to buy your business. That or they’ll sabotage you on social media, Yelp, or any other place they can make a “review.”
Look back into history with a company called Standard Oil. Yes, to become a monopoly you have to swallow up your competition. Except, after many monopolies were wiped out in court, they learned new tactics to make a comeback. They created individual outlet names to make it look like separate companies. Teddy Roosevelt would be turning in his grave.
The super meat packing plants are back with poor standards.
Competition or Compadre
The little guys like you who are successful aren’t your enemy. My grandfather proved that. They’re your study in how to do better. They are a resource in how to help a customer when you can’t. They’re an ally against the monster.
Ask these 3 questions to know who is a greater threat:
1. Do they have a store across the street from yours?
2. Are their prices unbelievably unbeatable?
3. Do they interact with you or are you getting a lot of mysterious negative reviews?
Winning Over an Ally
To resolve a problem with a smaller competitor and make him an ally, remove your own fear of him. Get rid of any greed you have. Start a dialogue and come to an understanding that you can actually help each other.
Network with other business, even if they’re not like yours. My grandfather sold shoes and was friends with the father of George Lucas (Star Wars) who sold office furniture. They were both on the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Merchants. You have to share interests as business owners.
Many business owners join the Metro Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations just to be on them. They don’t even attend meetings or events. My Grandfather was a part of the community.
Business is About Clout
Who do you think has the Government and Metro Chamber of Commerce ear? It isn’t you as an individual. The conglomerates are far more powerful and influential.
One example is the Commerce tax that was passed by the Nevada Legislature and Governor with the approval of the Metro Chamber of Commerce. That infuriated its members but how many of them worked with each other to stop it.
Don’t Have a Conglomerate Competitor?
If you don’t know the terms Big Pharma or Franchise, you need to do your homework.
These super companies hide their true identities well. Their goal is to let you grow enough to buy you out or wipe you out before you can start. It depends on how you market and what you have to offer. You could have an exceptional product and marketing plan that succeeds beyond belief. Then they’ll take it.
Sounds dark, I know. That’s why you need allies. Don’t be on your own.
Where to Look for Allies
Start looking at other business, especially in your market, to engage with. The Las Vegas Health and Fitness Chamber of Commerce also has resources to help local business.
Join the Las Vegas Health & Fitness Chamber of Commerce. Attend a networking event. Be a part of a community who wants true change in the way we handle health and fitness.