How Do You Respond to a New Big Competitor? Four Strategies

Situation: A company has just learned that a new, much larger competitor is moving into their market. They are concerned that this may severely impact their growth and even their existence. How do you respond to new competition in your market niche from a much larger new entrant, particularly if the new player comes in with a low pricing strategy to buy market share?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Take a lesson from those who survive a move by Walmart into their territory:
    • Boutiques and high service specialty stores survive Walmart – especially those that focus on personal service. Walmart does not provide the level of service that you find in one of these stores and doesn’t know their customers as individuals. Boutiques may lose some price conscious customers, but these are not the customers that provide good margin to them.
    • Use your personal knowledge of the marketplace and your long term relationships to your advantage – including your reputation with existing customers when going after new customers.
    • You may remain more profitable than the larger company, especially on a per transaction basis, based on your knowledge of the territory or business niche. Walmart can’t tell you the best product to perform a home repair.
  • Focus on your strengths in the market, and don’t assume that all large companies are Walmarts. Walmart has a unique set of talents and a tightly controlled process. This may not translate to other markets – especially services which are very personal.
  • Research the reputation and business practices of the new entrant in their other territories. What are they known for, and what are their weaknesses? You may be able to learn this by networking with their current competitors and customers.
  • If you are a multi-generation family business, consider promoting your “old world skill” and established reputation and expertise.

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