I was in a fabulous restaurant last week, talking to the owner. The food was exceptional and prices reasonable, so it was great value for money. We got chatting about the impact of the recession on his trade.
He benchmarks himself against his competitors in the town, but I was curious when he avoided comparison with the Italian restaurant across the street. He told me they’ve been making so many special offers and really pushing the boat out to get customers that it’s not a fair comparison.
Hmm, I see…
So was it coincidence that they’re the only restaurant around who are busy every night and seem to have a real buzz going inside?
So this idea of a “fair comparison” is that we can’t look at businesses that have taken the initiative and marketed their socks off, to keep themselves busy?
As we talked, he realised that he had a blinkered view and was oblivious to the hard truth. When you’ve been running a business for a while it’s easy to become blinkered from reality.
Fortunately as soon as we started talking about it, he realised just how much opportunity is in his hands, how some smart marketing and real focus on the basics of getting more customers will make a big jump in his sales within a month or two.
And that’s without the option of heavy promotion on takeaway food, too.
It’s really easy to blame the recession now for any and all problems. But be honest – if your business is not a monopoly, all you need to do is a better job than your competitors on your marketing and service and you’ll steal customers from them.
My recommendation to this restaurateur? Get into an effective marketing frenzy! Track the offers the competition are doing – if it’s working for them, we get to understand what customers love and can do the same.
And remember – just because copying was wrong at school, does not make it wrong all the time. In business, we have to watch our competitors carefully and copy the things that work. In fact, business copying has a couple of special names – “market research” and “competitor analysis”. Do some today and get your business on the growth path!
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