Competition is a funny thing

Competition is a funny thing. The reactions by different businesses are almost always educational.

For example, a local business has their shorts in a bunch because the local high school bought a machine that (sorta) does what their expensive engraving equipment does. The owners went to the board and complained that the school was competing with them.

As you might expect, it’s been splattered all over our weekly newspaper on and off for a few weeks, including accusations that the school district is doing work for local businesses. Iâ??m not aware of any proof being offered, but itâ??s really beside the point. Then they complained that the school district might eventually stop buying $3000 worth of stuff from them each year.

A few points to consider…

1) They stand to lose $3000 worth of business across an entire year? Look, if 3 grand is the difference between success and failure for your business this year, you need to get a job.

2) Did you really think you would endear yourself to the public by moaning about this in the paper and to the school board? Next I suppose the local newspaper will complain because the students are writing news stories in journalism class. Or the local metal shops, cabinet shops and programmers will ask them to lose the metal shop, wood shop and computer lab? Look, I *LIKE* when businesses mention that they could get a kid to do their work for “10 bucks an hour”. Why? Because I KNOW they’ll be back, ready for me to clean up the mess. Think about it. What happens when your system goes down and your little genius is busy studying because he has a chemistry test the next day? Or when she’s out of town on a band trip? Or when he can’t skip football practice? Or when his girlfriend threatens to break up with him if he doesn’t come over RIGHT NOW?

3) Anyone who would get engraving made at the high school isn’t likely to buy â??real engravingâ? from a business. The quality difference is apparent, if nothing else because the machine is different. Iâ??ve seen work from both machines. The real biz does far better work. Of course, its far less convenient to drop by their business now that theyâ??ve moved out of town to a rural location (DUH), but it beats going into the high school, checking in as a visitor, or meeting the kid in the evening.

4) Whereâ??s your marketing? Instead of fighting this, take advantage of it. Do most â??freebieâ? jobs get done on time? No. (Think “cheap, fast or good, pick any 2”) Do they have all the various stock emblems for engraving at the high school? No. Can you just drop something off with a brief note, say â??make this happenâ? & know itâ??ll be done professionally & on time? TODAY? Not likely. Can you get “rush service”? Probably not. All â??weaponsâ? for your marketing.

Market more and complain less. Youâ??ll have less to complain about. Bonus: you won’t look like a putz in the local paper.