My friend, Steve, runs a retail store in the Carolinas. About 10 years ago, he called me for advice on what to do. His business was steady but stagnant. He had 3 or 4 other people in his same space and they were all in the same boat. What I suggested to Steve was that he take steps to differentiate himself from his competitors. First thing to do was internal. Give his place of business a facelift. It is an old retail adage, move something every thirty days, internally.
The second step for Steve was craft a message for his business that was different – the real reason he was better than his competitors. Hint: It had nothing to do with the fact he was family owned and had been in business 27 years. It had to do with what happened after you did business with Steve. It had to do with the results of doing business with him. Then we deployed that message – with frequency – and we committed to it long term.
Steve used this strategy effectively, for 1 year. Gross sales went from 1 million dollars to 3 million, annually. But, Steve couldn’t get over his level of commitment to his advertising. He had gone from investing about 5K per month to near 20K. So the next year, he cut his messages in half …Gross sales fell. Meanwhile, his competitors noticed. They increased the frequency of their messages to combat Steve. In year 3, Steve went back to the level we had agreed on, but could recapture the market share he had previously. His competitors had taken it from him.
What happened to Steve is not uncommon. Internal programming overrides the right thing to do. The other old adage is: Always best to ride a horse in the direction it is going as long as you can. When the horse is dead, get off the horse. Since you never know when the horse is going to die, always best to have two horses. Steve got off the horse way too soon.
Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t be Steve! We can help. Call Connie Hayes at 806-748-2404 or call me directly 806-748-2405. We will be happy to meet with you, talk about the choices you have, your competitive landscape and craft a strategy for your future growth. We’ll keep you on the horse with momentum.
Best of Business.
Christopher E. Fleming
Chief Revenue Officer