Oshodi market is a very popular market in Lagos, Nigeria. There, you can find almost everything to buy. Like every other market, there are many people selling similar items. What this translates to is that survival is for the fittest.
A few days back, I had to go and do last minute shopping for my family for the Christmas celebration. The tempo in the market was unsurprisingly high as there were so many other last minute shoppers like myself. The traders too were at their best trying to outsmart one another to sell their products. traders used all sort of means to get customers’ attention – pulling customers, singing, cracking jokes, impromptu discounts offers and even making a mockery of themselves – all in a bid to sell their products. One thing was noticeable – traders who were very good at appealing to or wooing customers made a lot of sales. I had to stop by some trading spots, not because I wanted to, but because I was persuaded to by the very appealing tactics applied by the concerned traders. I was not the only one that so persuaded.
However, in a sharp contrast was a particular trader who simply stood there and held out his wares without making attempts to appeal to or woo customers to his spot. Instead, he stood there smiling at his colleagues who were busy applying creativity to the tensed competition that existed at the time, and making huge sales therefrom. Till I left he did not make any sales. I really pitied him.
This scene applies beyond the simple sole trader selling his wares on a corner of the street or in the market, to big multinationals. The need to do something extra cannot be over emphasized in business. One of the major reasons why some businesses are finding the business climate very tough is because of the presence of competitors, some of them being very aggressive. Remove the competition and you find them doing better. But in business you cannot rule out competition, except for legal monopolies. So every business has to learn the art of survival of the fittest, or they are kicked out of business.
All that is required is to have at the back of your mind that a sale by a competitor means you have lost that particular sale. If it continues unabated, then collapse is imminent. Simple !
So you have to do everything (legal of course) to ensure that you outsmart your competitor. It’s all about being watchful, creative, proactive, business-minded, building customer loyalty and above all, being customer-oriented. Sometimes you might have to lose a few coins/notes. See those loses as investments that, most often than not, pay back.
Last line : Watch a boxing match, preferably that of Iron Mike Tyson, and see how to outsmart a competitor.
Good luck to you.