“Anything you can do, I can do better.”
Remember this phase? Whether I look out my windows onto Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights, or watch an old movie on TV, someone is always thinking they’ll open up a duplicate business right across the street from one that has been there for decades. (Remember in “Hello Dolly” when Dolly Levi tells Horace Vandergelder that Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker are planning to open a hardware store right across the street from him?)
I’ve always thought a better business plan is to open a business that compliments an existing one. For example, wouldn’t a chocolate shop do nicely in close proximity to a florist? An umbrella approach can work, too, as 942 Summit Ave., here in the Heights, is proving. It features three businesses: Do You Tea?, WHOS Gluten-free, and Bloomsbury Sq.
But when a bridal shop, eyeglasses store or fast-food restaurant opens across from a similar merchant, why is this also a smart business plan?
Because they have done their research. They have scouted the location, seen the customer traffic flow and taken into account how long that original business has been there. It’s about staying power because of customer loyalty, and that loyalty comes from a professional and well liked product or service.
So, the prospective business owner thinks: If they can do it, why not us? We’ll offer an even better product, slightly less expensive items, or hire someone with clout, that has a following.
These are obviously two different business models, but each can lead to success if done well.
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