Categorized | Business

Entrepreneur

Avoiding Established Competitive Marketplaces

By Tom Irmen


Many would-be entrepreneurs contemplating the launch of their first small business venture understandably try to target what they believe to be a brand new niche market rather than attempt to penetrate an existing marketplace dominated by established competitors. But don’t be too quick to write off those established markets.

Quick printing franchises dominated the personal and small business printing industry in the ’80s and ’90s. You couldn’t close your eyes and throw a rock without hitting one of these franchise locations.

The new owners of an existing franchise carefully analyzed the competitive landscape that existed in their suburban Chicago location. Here’s what they found:

» Printers assessed additional charges for color printing
» No delivery service was offered, requiring customers to pick up their printing orders
» Printers relied entirely on walk-in business, ignoring the opportunity to identify potential new clients

Based on this information, these resourceful owners began offering a color print schedule that eliminated the customary upcharges, which resulted in an immediate savings for their customers and an increase in sales for their printing franchise.

The owners also invested in a delivery and pickup vehicle that brought them into direct contact with their customers’ decision makers, which helped not only to foster valuable new relationships, but also provided them with the opportunity to introduce these same clients to all of the printer’s services that they might benefit from. Sales skyrocketed.


Finally, the owners made a strategic decision to target mid-sized companies that were being underserved by both small print franchises and larger printing competitors. After just months, these innovative small printing franchise owners began receiving individual print orders that exceeded their earlier combined monthly sales.

The net result? These innovative entrepreneurs became the third fastest growing franchise out of more than two thousand locations nationally in just three years.

There is a distinct advantage to targeting an existing marketplace, even one with multiple, established competitors. That is, customers understand and accept the need for the products or services being offered. Why not offer many of the same products or services already being offered, but where you can differentiate yourself by providing a new twist(s) that will be perceived as offering even greater value to your targeted customers? You may actually discover that it is easier to penetrate an existing competitive marketplace than to create an entirely new one.

Leave a Reply