On high streets across the Uk we see a collection of shops and services for offer, often these services and shops are repeated a few paces further down leading many to believe that High street lacks the imagination of the Internet. With charity shops, cafes and hairdressers littering our high streets the downward spiral of a local thriving shopping area is plain for all to see.
These tough times can often lead many small business to fear competition, perhaps a similar shop has opened nearby and you are worried about vital custom being taken away. These fears are valid, however there are ways which you can actually turn this competition into a positive.
1 - More shops attract more customers
Many people avoid the high street because they think there will be nothing of value there, they would rather shop in large out of town super stores or the Internet. By having an increased number of shops you may actually find your footflow increases.People who cannot find what they want in your competition may approach you leading to direct sales from their customers. Don't be tempted to get into a price war, the damage that will do to your business cannot be reversed, by having low prices the reputational damage of reverting them back to original price will leave you suffering in the long term.
2 - Collaborative working
People are generally friendly and as a new business your competition may appreciate a friendly visit. Perhaps discuss new product ideas, agree boundaries and support each other through website growth and custome referrals. Unless the business is a franchise then they will be open to this kind of approach, and if not you have not lost anything in trying.
3 - Areas of expertise
A lot of high streets across the Uk have become known for a particular specialism, perhaps your local high street has an abundance of sports shops due to local facilities, or a large amount of galleries and art supply shops. These high streets grow in reputation as more competition enters the market and to be known for a specialism will attract customers from further afield.
4 - If all else fails diversify
If you have exhausted all other opportunities and your customer footflow has dropped then perhaps its time to branch out. Try new products and change away from your existing business model. The cheapest way to do this is by having other local suppliers provide you stock on sale or return basis. Or acting as an agent for a larger business, this will mean litle to no capital outlay to bring in that new stuff and if it works then you can begin to purchase direct from suppliers and increase your profit.