“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”
What will you do if you are running a small family company and a new giant is coming? You think of closing your business, or switch to another market, or stay still and watch what happens next?
When StarBucks came to Vietnam market in 2013, it caused the closure of many big coffee chains like NYDC, The Coffee Bean, Gloria Jeans, etc. which were sharing the same target customers.
Almost every day appears a newcomer offering the same products or services. Companies usually do not aware of the competitors fully unless it is a giant. If you are running a small coffee store and your customers are the young, what will you do when StarBucks is opening their new store just next to you? The success of StarBucks in foreign markets means that there are some coffee chains were closed or replaced. But, in any market, there are some survivors thrive after the tsunami of competition. How can they do that? They react to the situation better? I do not think so. A simple reaction cannot help you to overcome the challenge. It is your strategic plan and preparation for changing which can lead you to success.
How tiny business stands firm and grows in the storm?
You may think that these family businesses chose a different niche market or offered bottom-low prices. In fact, these owners kept their prices unchanged and they share the same target of young people. So, how did they play? The answer is differentiation and adaptation.
A giant operates following a list of standards and a fixed business model, while small family-owned businesses can easily modify their format quickly and dynamically. And this is the point that they can explore to compete.
Solution 1: Go with the trend
The young like taking photos, posting and use social media to connect. Creating a beautiful background for photo capturing is not difficult and not very costing if you are creative enough.
Another coffee store offers free-hug for customers during the Christmas season.
Or you can personalize the ambiance that you already have.
Solution 2: Focus more on service
One tactic that I like the most is giving extra 1% satisfaction to your customers. It is easy, low cost (or almost no extra cost). The only condition is that you need to be creative with your offers.
This coffee store offers a free small glass of water if the customers stay longer than 45 minutes, and a coupon of 20% discount for the second cup after 1 hour. Their motto is “Stay longer, connect stronger”.
This coffee offers free space for public speakers every Saturday afternoon when the number of customers is lowest. As a result, they attract more customers and increase their sales.
I believe that you can find out 1001 ways of differentiation. Search and learn! Be creative and be well-prepared. Your business will thrive.