It used to be that business owners slept with one eye open, watching their competitors. However, over time that has changed a bit. When you look across the field of your competitors today, often you’ll find that they have already gone out of business. If you are left wondering why you are still standing, then I’d say you are either lucky or have figured out who your real competitor is. Yep – take a look in the mirror!
When I was a young man growing up in East Nashville, I frequented the local auto parts shop. There was a small sign that read: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten” (Benjamin Franklin). Nashville Wraps has seen many competitors come and go, offering low prices to get some orders, but it doesn’t work over the long haul. In order to keep your customers, you have to provide what they want and you have to form a positive relationship.
It’s the same with a restaurant, shop, hardware store, the cleaners – just about every type of business – does best working on relationships with the customer. I like it when the restaurant knows what I want when I sit down to the table, or the cleaner calls me by name, or the grocer even stops to talk (I live in a small town). It all helps to ensure that I will come back. It’s just human nature to keep coming back to vendors you like, and who supply your needs, and it works in all areas of business.
At Nashville Wraps we depend on input from our customers to drive our product line, and we try our best to be a great vendor – someone whom we would want to do business with. Treating others the way we want to be treated is our standard. If you combine that with listening to your customers, you have a formula for success.
This year I came up with a phrase to help one of our new folks understand our business mentality: Who we compete against is really ourselves. If we bring to market what our customers want, we do well; if not, we don’t. It’s pretty much that simple.
While we all should keep an eye on our competitors, it’s really the mirror we should focus on!