I was in my local chippy the other night. Considering it is a small village, and even taking into account passing trade from the main road and the number of events that take place at a weekend, it is rarely other than really busy. However, the owners were concerned about the fact that a takeaway pizza and burger place has just opened up over the road, worried about competition and losing trade. Their response seemed to be to try and match what the new place is doing, rather than concentrating on what they do well.
I tried to tell them that there were a number of things in their favour – one, they’ve been there longer; two, the food is excellent and good value; and three, competition is a good thing. In any business, you should be prepared to win business on reputation, quality of service and, occasionally, price. The worst thing you can do is try and emulate what a competitor is doing, rather than concentrating on what you do well. As long as you are demonstrably better than the competition, or have a different approach, then nine times out of ten you will win.