It’s the weekend.
It’s good to do something special and especially if you don’t have to get up early on Sunday morning.
So what are you going to do?
- Go to the theatre
- The cinema
- A concert
- A disco
- A meal at the nice Italian restaurant short walk away from where you live
- Or collapse in front of the TV with a Chinese takeaway and a DVD from Blockbuster
The point I’m making is that these are all solutions to the “what shall we do on Saturday night” question but the disco probably doesn’t see itself as a competitor to the Italian restaurant.
But you, the customer, do.
Each has its attractions and drawbacks and the TV and takeaway may often win on an regular Saturday night.
But what if we change the situation.
Let’s forget about a normal Saturday night and think about what to do for dinner on your wife’s birthday – and you know she loves Italian food.
Your local Italian restaurant may still be in the race but new competitors emerge – all the respectable Italian restaurants in your local area are possibles. In fact, because you want it to be a special occasion, your local Italian may be at a severe disadvantage because you go there so regularly.
Now you want something special. Something to be remembered.
Will it be the Michelin starred restaurant or the place that reminds you both of a little trattoria you went to in Venice on your honeymoon?
Probably the second because it’s more romantic.
Competitors for your money vary depending on what’s known as your “use-situation”.
A typical Saturday night is very different from your wife’s birthday.
So too is choosing a restaurant to entertain an important client who thinks of himself as a gourmet and likes Italian food. This time the Michelin starred restaurant is an obvious choice.
You can be too static in your thinking about who your competitors are and what are likely to be the order winning criteria.
I recommend you think about the use situations you want to attract people from – it will change your thinking about what you need to do to attract clients away from your most serious competitors.
This changing competitors concept is one that Shiv Mathur and Alfred Kenyon refer to as a private market.
Just because A competes with B and B competes with C, doesn’t mean that A competes with C.
If we stay with the restaurant example, let’s assume that you’re prepared to travel 15 miles to go to a good restaurant.
Imagine looking at a map and drawing a radius around where you are. You’ll pick up a range of restaurants you could go to.
But if you move house, and move 10 miles away, the circle is different. It includes some of the old restaurants and some new ones.
Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace.