How can you remain in business despite intense competition?
How you respond to the competitions is the key determinant whether you’ll remain in business or not!
The entrance of new competitions into an existing market can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you respond to it. In the previous post, I shared a story of how the entrance of new competitions nearly drove us out of business because we didn’t choose our response carefully, we panicked and lost focus.
This seemingly minor mistake in tactical planning is still costing us so much headache in the business even though we have began to take corrective measures. Choosing your response carefully after having strategically considered every alternative is the focus of this part of the article.
Don’t Panic, FOCUS!
Competitions are very useful to businesses because they act as a source of feedback. Alone you might not be able to measure your strength or weaknesses objectively, but the emergence of competitions will help put your business in a better perspective.
Take it or leave it, the entrance of new competitions will either make you or break you; these are the only two options available to you. Panicking will break you as it almost did to us but focusing will make you as we later found out. The entrance of new competitions is like a raging storm that sweeps everyone along its path off their feet if they aren’t standing firm or holding on to something strong and tangible.
As with every raging storm, no matter how turbulent it seems at first, there comes a period of perfect peace. This period can only be enjoyed by those who lived to see it and that would be those who held on firmly to what they believe in irrespective of external pressures. So don’t panic no matter how many your competitions are; don’t do anything in haste out of fear.
Rather, calm down to study the dynamics of the new competitions and let your response be born out of understanding and not fear. Until you understand their game plan, don’t respond yet; focus on your business by leveraging on your areas of strength and seeking out better alternatives to manage your weaknesses.
So what was fundamentally wrong with our response to the competitions?
In our own case, we responded wrongly because we reacted early. How you respond to competitions is what really matters and not the entrance of new competitions. You see when competitions show up in your line of business it’s more like a raging storm that can sweep you off your feet if you are not standing firm. It is not the time for you to panic and start making frantic moves born out of fear rather than strategic planning.
We realized this mistake only after the power company we had backed on for regular power supply to power our air conditions messed up. It’s funny thinking of it now in retrospect; how could we have been so lame to have imagined a regular power supply in a country like mine (Nigeria) where irregular power supply was the norm? In my country, the only way to ensure a regular power supply is to own a generator –an expensive, high cost of maintenance and fuel consuming machine that generates power and pollutes the environment. In our first year of business we spent over 1 million naira (almost $7000) on generator expenses alone. Imagine if such an amount of money had been ploughed back into the business.
Please don’t get me wrong here; I’m not at any point suggesting that the possibility of a steady power supply in Nigeria is unattainable. My point really is this; for now such a possibility is still far from reality. It’s the consciousness of this fact that made us to go as far as paying the power company extra for a dedicated commercial line which they claimed would be more regular than the residential line.
If we had been more patient and not in our panic mode, we wouldn’t have spent so much on a dedicated but irregular power supply nor would we have gone ahead to buy and install four new air conditions. All the money would have been diverted into some other strategic areas in the business such as getting a bigger and better generator that would have been able to power the air conditions when we are eventually ready to buy them.
Well, it’s no use crying over spilled milk. The good thing about the whole experience was the vital business lesson it taught me without which you wouldn’t be reading this today. The lesson learnt is costing me and my partner a whole year without pay. Not to even mention all other non financial cost such as stress, threat from creditors, loss of sleep etc. So for the singular fact that I’m saving you several months of headache not to even mention financial loss, I think it was worth it!
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So are there any practical tips one can adopt in choosing a strategic response to the emergence of new competitions?
Find out in the next article, where I will be revealing 5 strategic ways to beat the competition. These were the strategic ways in which we’ve been able to withstand the intense competitions our business faced and still remain relevant in the marketplace. You don’t wanna miss out on this and there’s only ONE way to be sure you’ll know when the concluding article will be ready –by subscribing to naijapreneur! below. IT’S COMPLETELY FREE.