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Competition and how to handle it.

One of the most aggravating things I hear people say is that there’s enough business for everyone. To me, this just shows a lack of understanding about supply and demand.

I wrote an article about this seven years ago when a wedding planner friend of mine said this to me when we were setting up for an event.

She was telling me about how a new planner was coming in and undercutting everyone else in order to get business. Then she let the phrase drop, which sent me into a frenzy. I went home and wrote the article, which you can read here: “No, there’s not enough work for everyone.”

Last night my husband told me that he saw a news story about A.C. Moore, which is a chain of craft stores, going out of business. This was a pretty big surprise, because I hadn’t heard anything about them being in financial trouble. But that’s usually the point, you don’t know that other businesses are in trouble until they make it public.

I talked about this in my Tuesday YouTube live on November 26th, but the basic gist of it is that you need to be aware that it’s never a good idea to ignore competition.

If you notice a drop in traffic, the first thing to do is to check out the number of businesses that have entered your niche lately. This doesn’t mean that you should be obsessively watching your competitors, because that’s a waste of time. But if you see a drop in the growth of your business, it’s definitely something to look at.

You have to be willing to pivot, discontinue product lines, switch things up, or add new items based on what’s going on in your particular market. The things that I started out selling on Etsy are very different from the things that I sell now. Part of that is due to competition and part is due to changes in demand for certain items. You can’t be afraid to shift.

You also can’t post a listing them sit back and wait. Because there’s increasing competition from a lot of directions, it’s really important that we, as small business owners, have multiple income streams and make sure that we’re not reliant on only one way to make money. My E-Shop Success program has a section called “Income Beyond Etsy” for this reason.

So the next time you’re tempted to say “There’s enough business for everyone,” just stop and ask yourself why you’re saying that. Because there’s usually a reason behind saying it, whether that’s to avoid putting off decisions for your business, or just because you don’t know better.

Just don’t fall for it, or you might be the next “going out of business” business…

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