Sign & Digital Graphics

August '18

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6 • August 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S __________________________________________ Publisher James "Ruggs" Kochevar – ruggs@nbm.com Executive Editor Ken Mergentime – kenm@nbm.com Managing Editor Matt Dixon – mdixon@nbm.com Digital Content Editor Tony Kindelspire – tkindelspire@nbm.com __________________________________________ Art Director Linda Cranston Graphic Artist Iveth Gomez Multimedia Producer Andrew Bennett __________________________________________ Advertising Account Executives Erin Geddis – egeddis@nbm.com Diane Gilbert – dgilbert@nbm.com Sara Siauw – ssiauw@nbm.com Sales Support Dana Korman – dkorman@nbm.com __________________________________________ Contributors in this Issue: Paula Aven Gladych; Vince DiCecco; Ryan Fugler; Justin Pate; Stephen Romaniello; Bill Schiffner; Andy Stonehouse; Shelley Widhalm; Rick Williams; Ray Work, Ph.D. ___________________________________________ Vice President/Events Sue Hueg CEM, CMP – susan@nbm.com Show Sales Damon Cincotta – dcincotta@nbm.com Exhibitor Services Janet Cain – Jcain@nbm.com Tyler Wigginton – Twigginton@nbm.com ____________________________________________ National Business Media, Inc. President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. Vice President/Integrated Media John Bennett Vice President/Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Vice President/Publishing and Markets Dave Pomeroy Vice President/Audience Lori Farstad Director of IT Wolf Butler B Y K E N M E R G E N T I M E The Long View Y ou've got a shop, it's doing pretty well and your customers seem satisfied with the work you produce and the service you provide. But then another company appears on the scene nearby and seems to be going after the same sign and graphics business you've been build- ing for years. A competitor. What do you do? You could simply ignore them and put more effort into improving your qual- ity and turnaround times. But in business you can't simply put your head down, do your job and hope the competition will just go away. On the other hand, you can't place all your focus on your business interlopers either. But common sense tells you that you have to do something or you may lose what you've worked so hard to build. You might start by taking a good look at the new competition—analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Learn how they are marketing themselves. Are they big- ger or smaller than you? What kind of "look" do they present? Do they specialize in products you already make? If you can, learn about the quality of work they do. Is it a low-ball, bargain basement banner outfit or a high-end custom shop? Chances are they have already done some reconnaissance on your shop before they moved in. Whatever you do, don't try to solve the problem by getting into a price war. You can never win, and doing so has a number of consequences, including lowering the perceived value of the products you offer. And once prices are dropped, it's almost impossible to get them back up where they belong. Better, once you've sized up the competition, to fill in the gaps in their offerings by offering what they don't. And even if you offer the same products and services, you are never going to be the same as your competition. This is your opportunity. Review what makes your business unique—often it's a combination of you as busi- ness owner, your team, and all the other factors that differentiate you from your competition. Refocus your sales, operational, and marketing efforts to emphasize the unique customer experience that you offer. Or... you could play dirty. You could poach the new shop's best employees, or if you have the clout, you could simply assimilate the competition—buy them out to gain access to their equipment, sign expertise and customer list. You could also engage in a social media war by posting poor reviews, finding their dissatisfied cus- tomers and amplifying their complaints online. But you really don't want to play dirty. That will simply put you in a very bad light and earn you a reputation for unethical business practices. There are ways to work successfully with a competitor by reciprocal cooperation—sending them your overflow business and accepting their overflow business. Win-win situations are always better than winner/loser scenarios. Think about it. Okay, back to work. Dealing with the Competition Got something to say? Join the S&DG Discussion Group at:

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