Times are changing and every solo business owner needs to design his little company in a way that it can be globally competitive.
Before the Internet, it was often sufficient that a small business only worried about the competition in the local community – those business that served the same market clientele.
You owned a gift shop and your customer pool was everyone within walking distance, or at least easy driving distance of your store, probably within the radius of your community and maybe a few other small towns within a comfortable drive.
If you could compete with the other gift sellers locally you probably did OK! You served your local market, probably gained a loyal following of those who liked you and your business, and you didn’t worry about gift shops in the surrounding cities – they weren’t really your competition!
Folks knew who you were, what you had to offer, and that they would find what they needed in your shop at a reasonable price. Sometimes, unfortunately maybe, the times change and a business owner must adapt to those times or business dries up!
Increasingly in today’s economy, customers now begin their search for a purchase online. Some purchases, like food items, gasoline, and other staples escape the scrutiny of today’s shoppers – they are always in a hurry and don’t much care which vendor satisfies their consumer needs. They establish their favorite local shopping venues over time and then continue to go back to them on a regular basis.
But hat simple gift that they used to shop for locally can now be purchased online from the convenience of their own home, without the travel, traffic congestion, time taken, gasoline spent, and probably at a discounted price.
Not only that, but the gift can be shipped directly from the online retailer to Aunt Hilda and she’ll receive it, gift wrapped, with a personal note from you at her doorstep the day after tomorrow.
You don’t have to pay sales tax on the gift (although this may be changing soon), bring it home to wrap it, pack it up for shipping, and take it to the UPS drop off point yourself.
All of a sudden, it is incumbent upon you – the local business owner – to try to compete with every other globally-focused gift shop online.
Yes, you can ignore this change in the way business is done these days. You can go on doing business as you’ve always done it. And maybe that’s all you want! I am not here to establish your personal goals or second guess your reason for being in business. But if you want to survive the changing times, you should pay attention to your market and how your market participants prefer to shop.
It may require that you make a few easy changes in the way you look at your business. You can refocus your efforts to identify how you too can compete globally. It’s really not that difficult.
The longer you wait, the more business you’ll lose. Eventually you’ll be scratching your head wondering why your business doesn’t produce like “the good old days!”
To your online business success,