Sleeping With The Enemy

Last week while out running errands I parked in front of a large drug store. Three delivery trucks were sitting out front, one a corn chip truck, a soft drink truck and a potato chip truck. No need to share the brands. We all know who they are. What’s the issue with that you might ask?

Many of these large drug store chains are selling or advertising themselves on “we put your health first”. We have your best interests at heart. Let’s think about what the delivery truck brands have to do with putting your health first. Nothing. From my perspective selling their customers, these types of snacks would ensure there would always be a steady stream of customers at the prescription counter. It’s like giving candy to a baby as they say. Hop on the sugar train and we have you hooked for life.

In today’s retail world everyone is wanting a piece of everyone else’s pie. Who would have imagined 15 years ago Walmart selling groceries or Supermarkets selling prescriptions? You can find a gas bar in front of most supermarkets too. It begs the question of how do we stand out from the crowd and sell enough goods to make a profit. I can assure you adding more low-profit inventory items is not a place I would start.

When I was growing up convenience stores that sold light groceries and confectionery stood on their own. Gas a place to have your camera films dropped off to be processed.  Let’s call them silos. Each part of the business was connected. These businesses were experts in their fields. Now we have convenience stores that sell gas and coffee. For my American friend’s beer too. Drug stores now look more like general stores that sell groceries, confectionery, greeting cards and in the back of the store they fill your prescriptions. It’s a dog’s breakfast.  How do we compete?

Noting is sacred any more. Everyone is competing for the low margin dollar. I call it the race to the bottom. A race that if you’re a business owner you don’t want to win. It’s a fool’s errand.  But it continues and businesses struggle to compete in this environment and even more challenging is to remain profitable.

The “well I’m in the store I may as well get this” will always exist. It’s like going to McDonald’s and they ask would you like fries with that?  What business owners need to understand is why the customer came in the door in the first place.  We can’t stand out if we walk, talk and smell like the rest.  That leaves us in a competitive place that ends up price point selling.  You will always struggle for profit when you price point sell.

Whether you are buying goods in a drug store that will eventually aid your diabetes or walking down the aisle of a convenience store that is selling fast lunches that compete against your restaurant we are all sleeping with the enemy.  Yes, the very business (corporations) who want it all.  The main line of the market share is their ultimate objective and they will do anything to protect and grow that.

News Flash.  Where the profit lies is in value. Good customers want to be a somebody and have a relationship with the owner, manager or staff. There is no value in potato chips or soda pop.  Zero. There is no profit in selling what everyone else sells. There is no loyalty in price. Why do so many business owners line up to head down that road?

No matter if our clients are service providers, restaurant owners or retailers it behooves us as Business Coaches to helps them understand their “why”. Get them to understand their Market Dominating Position.  Help them get it in their head that in most cases more customers will not solve their inherent problem. We must help them fix the ship before we put out let’s get more leads. Attracting more leads to a company that does not understand its value is a disservice. Social Media is jammed full of people and organizations promoting we will get you more leads. More leads are just 1 step of the 5 Step Profit Formula. The real profit is in the other 4. It is our job as business coaches to help our clients be profitable and take away the stress of breathing with a snorkel. Many business owners are swimming on the surface or underwater. It no damn fun.  It’s our job and duty as Business Coaches to help our clients fly.