In an interesting juxtaposition, I talked to the owners of two competing companies just a couple days apart.
“Business has been horrible,” declared the first. “You know, we lost most of our contract work. Between the economy and the weather, things have been really bad.”
Two days later, his competitor was on the phone telling me how good business was. He does almost no advertising, but has built up a devoted following through his speaking engagements and newsletters. And his customers were still buying.
Interesting, I thought – two companies in the same market, dealing with same economy, and the same weather issues. Certainly one entrepreneur had a tendency to see the glass as half empty, while the other saw it as half full. But was that all? Their radically different responses prompted me to look at their websites for clues.
Company #1’s website looked pretty much the same as it always has.
Company #2’s site included lots of new content, touting new discoveries and news articles about the company. What’s more, instead of slashing prices across the board, they introduced a wide variety of attractively priced samplers and value packs. Prices ranged from about $250 for the smallest home gardener pack to $2,000 and up for those sold to landscapers. Discounts were substantial enough to make the offers extremely attractive, yet the company still managed to maintain a high average sale.
Clearly, attitude was only part of difference between these two company owners. Like most of the people I talked to at this year’s Hardware Show, the second business owner had learned how to adapt to changing times and make his own luck.