Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Competition in Business 

Related Articles: Business Competition, Business Marketing

Related FAQs: 

Coral Business Question 1/8/10
HI Gang,
I've been pondering coral, fish and dry goods sales lately. I own a retail store that caters to people owning aquatic creatures. Because of the economy I decided I need to revisit my business plan and sales strategies.
Fish are selling well. Corals....what is it about corals lately?
<Not as many of the "type" of folks that initially buy these are coming into the trade/hobby interest... the economy>
The market seems saturated with home grown freebies and cheapies. Everything is listed as rare whether it is or not. What are you folks seeing in regards to coral sales?
<Some hotspots of activity in parts of the U.S., but mostly the trade is very slow>
Any suggestions on how to turn them around?
<All sorts of possibilities... trying to work with local clubs, individuals who are producing such... Spiffing up, placing pix of new arrivals (regularly) on your website... RSS'ing folks who sign on to be notified...
Workshops in your shop, yes, on propagation... Seeking out better sub-areas of the hobby for better sales opportunities...>
Would hosting in house coral seminars or starting a club help or hurt?
<Oh! Help>
I know you folks have a ton of experience and I would just appreciate hearing your viewpoints.
Dry goods seem to be the low man on the totem pole. I guess the online stores are getting the edge on price.
<Unfortunately the case... One really needs to hone their assortment... to avoid trying to compete with etailers...>
We continue to offer quality service and advice.
<Do you do installs and maintenance? I REALLY suggest you start, beef up...>
We aren't the store that will sell a Meyer butterfly to a 9 year old, let alone even get one in stock.
<I will/would shake your hand... anyone's who would be self-employed in the current USA. Cheers, and "stiff upper lip", Bob Fenner> 

Petco and the SEC 7/19/06 Something smells like a rat in Denmark! <I'll say!> http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20060719-1233-bn19petco.html SEC looks into PetCo stock trading By Frank Green UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER <Oh, our local rag... better red than read> July 19, 2006 The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission said it thinks there was illegal insider trading in Petco Animal Supplies options before last week's announcement that the San Diego-based pet supplies company would be sold to two private equity firms for $1.8 billion. The sale price of $29 per share was a 49 percent premium over the trading price of $19.45 per share on the day before the announcement. The SEC said it has obtained a temporary restraining order on $862,000 in suspected illicit profit made by 'unknown purchasers' involved in the alleged illegal trading. 'We want to prevent the money from being taken overseas,' said Kelly Bowers, the SEC senior assistant regional director for enforcement in Los Angeles. Bowers said the SEC had yet to identify any suspects in the case. In its complaint, the SEC alleges that in June and July someone in possession of 'nonpublic' information about the upcoming deal used financial institutions in Switzerland and England to buy more than 1,400 call option contracts -- generally at prices less than the trading value of Petco stock. The contracts were set to expire within weeks. It may involve an employee at Petco 'trying to make a little profit and thinking (he or she) had a hidden identity through a Swiss account,' Bowers said. 'Or it may be legitimate trading. But we don't think so.' Happy fishing all. Marina <Mmm, the stated reason for my giving up on the equities markets... too "arbitrary" (a charitable word)... More than half the shares of all publicly traded stocks are held by non-individuals... sorry, cha-ching, no sale. BobF>

Re: LFS's in trouble out here... what is the status out West?   2/14/06 That is awesome. Hey, maybe I will finally get to meet you if you are out here long enough! =) <Sure... my one brother in law is an aquarist and has been gracious to take me about the shops in the area... would enjoy visiting them again> Some of the LFS's here are really hurting. The internet is cutting bad into their business as they can't do as well on pricing. <Best to turn to service, quality, other product lines here...> I am concerned that more will go under. This is a problem as a hobbyist. With my preference for buying 'sight seen' there (lately) has been less to see at each store as orders are now getting smaller. Has this been a trend out your way? <Yes, worldwide> The LFSs are a resource I would hate to lose. I generally support the locals over getting better prices online for many reasons and being choosy over tank mates is certainly a prime reason. <Understood, and agreed> Sadly, I also noticed that general quality of fish and inverts has been better in the past than it has of late. Is this a seasonal issue? <Can be... as well (definitely) as a subjective/evaluative one on our parts... As time, experience accumulates, we tend to "notice more"...> I was looking forward to winter and seeing all the new arrivals. One of these days I will plan a really big setup when I have my own home and better suited space for it. I love this hobby Bob. I can not express how thankful I am to you and all the other great people who has helped make it such a joy. My fish are lucky: I have great resources to keep them happy and healthy! Sincerely, James <You and your statement are the driving force behind my efforts of a few hours daily here. My "mission statement": To improve the planet by enhancing peoples love of their own lives through an appreciation of the living world. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: LFS(s) in trouble out here... what is the status out West?  - 02/16/2006 Bob. <James> Yes Bob you have succeeded well with my wife also. She looks forward each day to saying hello to our little friends in each tank. She never grew up with pets so this is a remarkable change. <Ahh> It helps when you start off right and develop an eye for things to look for and questions to ask. It is hard not be impulsive when you see something that is so nice at some of the stores but it is stupidity not to learn from the hard lessons of wait and research. I am fortunate that I found great information early and my success is in direct proportion to all I have learned. <The human... condition. Can't help but think of our progenitors hanging about in trees, looking about in bushes on the ground, seeing, reaching for colorful fruits...> This is sad to hear that this dilemma for LFSs is worldwide. The bigger ones with the best selection are still doing okay but they also have other things like decent parking going for them. James <Part of natural and not selection in business... the mass-merchandisers come and go, wax and wane in commerce... Unavoidable... and what the public "deserves"/pays for. Bob Fenner> About starting up an aquatic business  08/08/2005 Hi my name is Stephen Fang and I'm representing a fledgling company that has recently opened up a mediocre pet store <!> in the New York Area. Although they've already begun i wanted to ask you a few questions on how to attain and maintain success. I realize you're a very notable and busy individual <Moi?> who's constantly providing help and advice to the aquarium hobby, which is very impressive and notable. <Glad for the interaction, service> If at all possible i would like to engage you in a few questions regarding the whole business aspect of the hobby. <Okay> These individuals that I'm helping aren't my family but i feel attached to them and want to help with their success. <Good> Because they're Chinese Americans their english is broken and i feel that, in a way, already hurts them as a business, because communication between customers is key. <Agreed> The owner, Louie is only doing freshwater currently and isn't in the most populated area. There are customers that walk through here and there and there are opposing retailers in the area (but mostly PetLand discounts and big name corporations). <Am familiar with these> My advice to him was to do his best to provide the widest and healthiest selection of freshwater fish he could, and if he wanted to, invest in the salt water trade as well. <When he is ready> I suggested that to compete with large corporations that competitively acquire goods for less and sell them at better rates, the best thing he can do is provide what they most probably can't provide through their franchising practices, and that is quality. <And if I may, as importantly, service... the big box stores have yet to figure out just how much "training" it takes to "make" decent staff... a huge amount (you can call this money, encouragement...) of time is required to develop knowledge, capacity for relating... determining if individuals are suited to this task> Also, i wanted to know how "profitable" the salt water trade itself is. <Can be very... or a much greater loss than freshwater... And, you should know, as you're trying to help these folks, that it is rare that livestock is actually profitable... it is the drygoods products that almost always generate real profits... livestock almost always only "breaks even" considering the cost of display, feeding, maintenance... Modern stores devote the least possible amount of floor space to livestock presentation therefore... They are only to serve to drive drygoods sales> As opposed to the freshwater trade, and in your own opinion, what's the money maker in the industry, because sales lately has been down for them due to the weather and heat. <A huge discussion... to put this very simply, there is a decided seasonality to the trade... with all aquarium-related sales dropping off in the warmer months (due to folks being out of the house, on holiday...) and marines in particular in the Summer... Many retailers have "other" sidelines that they emphasize during this time... particularly ponds...> Once again i thank you for your time and patience with regards to my inquiry, if you have a chance to respond then I'd be very much grateful. However, if you happen to not respond, I'll understand the same because you are, a very busy man. Sincerely, Stephen. <Everyone has exactly the same amount of time. I am happy, satisfied to share myself with you, your friends in turn. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

I disagree!! with illegitimate wholesaling            Dear Bob Fenner I must disagree with your view on wholesale retail stores.  Yes I would agree their are some out their hurting some stores in a few locations probably large metropolitan areas.  I believe in the last ten years though the multitude of online stores has put a larger hurting on the small ma n pop stores.  When a customer comes in to my store with a fosters and smith cataloged I cringe.  Especially when they show me they can buy the same products I carry at a cheaper price than I purchased it at. <I "lived" this situation as a retailer years back as well (the "letter" you are referring to I penned in the early eighties...>   I myself have considered ordering from them for drygoods. <Our service division actually used to do this... w/ Dick Boyd's Chemipure, Eheim... a few other lines... was cheaper than buying from ASU, LeeMar...>   I have sold many of tanks to many of people to have them come back a week later and buy fish.  Before selling them I inquire don't you need a filter heater dechlorinator etc..  Only to hear I already got them online.  What really burns me is when they bring in a faulty product they purchased their and want me to return it on the warranty because I also carry the same product.  In my eyes the real injustice to the hobby is the online store!!   <Times have changed... but not human nature. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>                                    Sincerely                                    Nathan Poyner Re: (New) Pet Shop Hey Bob, Thanks again for taking the time to read my email. I last wrote to you a few months ago about opening a Pet Shop down the Jersey Shore. All has been going slowly and smoothly...until now. First let me tell you that with the help of an attorney we negotiated a contract with the owners of a yet to be built strip mall. You questioned me about hiring an attorney, but let me tell you since our (me and my buddy) knowledge of contracts is zero, it was a good move. Our attorney added some things into our contract that we would have never thought of.....for example, two months of free rent to get ready for the opening of the store. <At least> All of our plans that we have drawn out have been looked at by our attorney and an accountant and they both have said that our plans, both monthly and for the future look good. Now here comes our possible bump in the road. We have found out that about 500 feet of where the strip mall is to be built may be the possible home of a Wal-Mart. We have heard that a few stores have put bids in on the land and that Wal-Mart may get the nod to go there. If this happens they will probably be there in about 2 or 3 years, as it will take time for them to get past all of the red tape and fighting from the towns people to stop them. Now here come our decisions. We can have 3100 sq ft for our store. Our plans are to have a Pet Shop that will have everything. ALL dry goods, Freshwater and African Cichlids, aquariums, reptiles, birds, small animals and even a delivery service. I have no doubts that we will carry much more in quality and quantity than a Wal-Mart. They don't carry any livestock except for some fish <Just freshwater. Some friends, associates here in San Diego, Nevin and Tom Bailey (Bailey's Tropicals) only sell to Wal-Mart> ...and my belief is that true hobbyists don't buy fish from a Wal-Mart. They wont carry all of the aquariums for sale that we will. We believe that we will carry much more in everything else that they do carry. Are there any questions that I should still be asking myself? <Mmm, a few. "How will we distinguish ourselves from this mass-merchandiser?", "What lines do they carry that we should just drop, offer by other manufacturers as competing alternatives?" "What other types of shops can we visit to ask re their experiences of being near a Wal-Mart, what they did that worked?"> Would you have any problem opening up a Pet Shop in a place where there is a great possibility that a Wal-Mart will be near in the future? <Possibly. Our stores had a "wide target audience", that would have included the customer base of Wal-Mart. We built some in K-Mart centers as these had a better than none "draw" for our customers... The construction work itself would deter

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: