Big Business Versus the Small Business

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Some people are just bound and determined to conclude that big businesses in any given market niche pose a dire threat to small business owners.

We have all heard the complaints railed against Wal Mart. However, did you notice the news stories that covered the towns where the small business owners got together and kept them from moving in?

Economic competition does not mean that someone is always going to win while the other one loses. Competition in the market is simply the opposite of a monopoly market. I am sure no one would be happy if the world's markets were run like OPEC.

So, in this country, since the government-backed monopolies AT&T, etc., have been broken up, we have markets with many players. These players by the very nature of the game are going to be different sizes and styles. In order for any one of them to keep alive in a market, they have to be savvy. Getting one's name out, dealing with pricing and services are the major issues.
Because smaller companies can't offer as many products or services as the big guy it is falsely assumed they have a smaller chance of being successful. Not true. Think of an easily identifiable example. Big chain grocery stories cater to a certain niche. While they have customers in all their lines, just a block a way the same can be true of the neighborhood 7-Eleven. Why?

7-Eleven's are convenience stores. They fill a niche for consumers in a hurry. When hurried, most consumers are willing to pay a little bit extra for getting in and out quicker.

7-Eleven Stores began operating under this name in 1945. Previously experiments had shown customers willing to pay more for small items when presented with the opportunity, instead, in those days, having to travel to a bigger store. 7- Eleven's success has in no way decreased the market for grocery chains.

In Pasadena, CA, three bookstores operate successfully on the famous Colorado Blvd. There is a chain, a mainstay, and a Mom and Pop. All offer slightly different services and refer customers to each other when needed.

None of this doesn't mean that a business somewhere isn't going to fight unfair and try to gain an unfair grip on the competition. We all know that Wal Mart has some unsavory business practices. Bill Gates has been sued for allegedly trying to do similar things.

Then, there were the Robber Barons in the early 20th century who really didn't care what they did to keep their huge share of profits. They are the reason we have antitrust laws today.

The point is that those types of activities aren't the norm. They are out of the ordinary and are dealt with via bad press and lawsuits.

This doesn't mean that when shops open in your niche you wouldn't have to work harder to keep your customers. Adding services, finding out what your customers really want and more marketing will be a part of the mix.

The current threats to small business are the tight market in the overall economy and constant talk of economic down turns. This is an aggregate economic issue, not one dealing directly with competition.

Economic competition is healthy for the market. It needs to be dealt with logic instead of emotional reactions to misconceptions about basic economics.

Laura Bell is Freelance Writer and owner of www.bellbusinessreport.com. The Bell Business Report offers common sense business advice and how-to info for running your business. It takes the everyday headlines apart, dealing with business news, and shows you how to put that information to work for you.

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