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“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

In a competitive world you must stand for something and stand out.You must, as Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Most small businesses have a difficult enough time figuring out what to sell. They often become a “wandering generality” of their business type. They by default become “A jack of all trades and master of none”. To the general public they are second citizens to the predictable although not perfect national brand experiences whether carpet cleaner, lawn care operator, security alarm system, garden center, restaurant, etc. Don’t you also find it to be  easier, faster, and “safer” to choose the national brand over the mom & pop motel? One of the reasons the general pull of national brands is true is that the better brands re-invent themselves the way Holiday Inn has been doing.

How do you rise to the top in the customers mind?”

Steve Martin achieved outrageous success by developing a unique method to his apparent madness, which led to his becoming “so good that the entertainment world couldn’t ignore him”. And, as they say, the rest is history.

The same wisdom applies to steady growth, taking a step to the elusive “next level”, or catapulting to even higher levels.

The Steve Martin Method Continue reading

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Responding Positively when Big Boxes Arrive

Don’t worry about them, but definitely don’t ignore them either. When the big boxes come to your backyard it”s a battlefield. Treat it as such.
A new Dartmouth study confirms what we knew about Walmart, and as Inc. Magazine reports, what can be done to counter their effect: Walmart does kill: Click the cover for the story.

Recently I was traveling through an area north of Asheville, NC where a new Lowe’s and Walmart were preparing to open across the highway from each other. I stopped in a nearby independent garden center and just mentioned to the owner that I had noticed the new competition preparing to open. He curtly remarked that they wouldn’t be his competition and that they would help his business. Believe me I wish this would be true, however I don’t believe it is. It is not healthy to take competition for granted. Instead we should have a healthy fear (respect) for competition. In fact, there are specific counter-competitive measures that should be taken against new, or long-existing competitors. Most of the measures should be about fortifying your own position in the marketplace and ‘bulletproofing’ your customer base, which is the specific intent of our Client Advantage program.

So be truthful. Has the movement of competition to your immediate trading area had an impact on your transaction count? How have you responded with specific intent to counter the effect of big boxes,? Do you think you might have had better results if you had been more proactive?

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