Time has moved on and small business has too. Since the dawn of time, man has worked on ways to simply make life better in every way possible. By nature, he is an innovator and a creator. When it comes to business, he is no different. Companies justify their business by the ideas and innovations that they bring to the market place. If they don’t, they will simply cease to exist.
While I was growing up, I was a big fan of stores like K-Mart and Murphy Mart, a local competitor to K-Mart. My parents and family liked taking advantage of those Blue Light Specials that offered various items at discount prices that K-Mart ran. For those not familiar with K-Mart’s Blue Light Specials, let me give you a quick explanation. During your shopping adventure in your local K-Mart, you would hear an overhead announcement that would tell you about a great in-store special that they were about to run for a limited time. The way that you would find the special was to find the flashing Blue Light. Now, the Blue Light was not hard to find because it was atop a large cart and the Blue Light flashed nonstop, and it did create quite a thrill for bargain shoppers. These Blue Light Specials could occur at any given moment. So, you can see why shopping at K-Mart was such an adventure. K-Mart sure did know their market or did they?
Along came Walmart (notice the resemblance in the name), and they absolutely crushed K-Mart and any store like them in a fairly short amount of time. Walmart played the marketing game quite differently than K-Mart. They went after the vendors and manufacturers and negotiated down all the prices that they would pay for items. By doing this, who needed Blue Light Specials when, the entire Walmart store was always on special? In other words, everything at Walmart was cheaper than K-mart and you did not need to wait for a special sale or event to get a great deal. Not only did they offer great deals, but at a Super Walmart, they offered groceries in addition to all the department store items in just one convenient location. That was convenience at a whole new level and the typical busy American absolutely loved it.
Certainly, purchasing groceries and department store items was not a new concept, but Walmart changed how both department stores and grocery stores did business. With the marketing approach that Walmart took, they completely differentiated themselves from all other stores. By doing this, they created a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company. Now, you may not be out to create a multi-billion dollar company, but if you want to make a very good living with your thriving business, you must continue to stay innovative. Dare to do things differently and refuse to do business the same way everybody does in your industry. It will make you money now and will help extend the life of your small business. Remember, K-Mart was innovative sometime ago but where are they today? Continue to do business differently!