Oshodi market is a very popular market in Lagos, Nigeria. There, you can find almost everything to buy. Like every other market, there are many people selling similar items. What this translates to is that survival is for the fittest trader.
I went to the market to do some shopping. The tempo in the market was unsurprisingly high as there were so many shoppers as usual. The traders too were at their best trying to outsmart one another to sell their products. Traders used all sort of means to get customers’ attention – pulling customers, singing, cracking jokes, impromptu discounts offers and even making a mockery of themselves – all in a bid to sell their products. One thing was noticeable – traders who were very good at appealing to or wooing customers made a lot of sales. I had to stop by some trading spots, not because I wanted to, but because I was persuaded to by the very appealing tactics applied by the concerned traders. I was not the only one that so persuaded.
However, in a sharp contrast was a particular trader who simply stood there and held out his wares without making attempts or outstanding moves to appeal to or woo customers to his shop. Instead, he stood there smiling at his colleagues who were very busy applying creativity to the stiff competition that was staring at him in the face, and making huge sales therefrom. Unsurprisingly, till I left he did not make any sales. He was totally over shadowed by his competitors. I really pitied him.
This scene applies beyond the simple sole trader selling his wares on a corner of the street or in the market, to big multinationals. The need to do something extra or something your competitors are not doing, cannot be over emphasized in business. One of the major reasons why some businesses are finding the business climate very tough is because of the presence of competitors, most of which are very aggressive, creative and innovative. Remove the competition and you find them doing better. But in business, you cannot rule out competition, except for legal monopolies. There is no mercy in mercy. It is a winner takes all game. NO business is comfortable having competitors around them.
Thus, businesses have to be very watchful, creative, innovative, proactive, business-minded, build customer loyalty and above all, be customer-oriented. Sometimes it might involve spending huge amount of money on promotion, superior quality personnel, technology, research and much more. If these are seen as being too much to withstand competition, then a gradual exit from the market may may become a second option.
Good luck to you and thanks for your time.