By Jenna Sue Payne, Sales Manager
DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — We’ve all been there before. A new business opens in town, you’re standing in your favorite boutique and the owner makes suppositions, spreading rumors about the new owner, and soon the innuendo spreads faster than a Facebook dancing cat video. And yet, we live in America, a country that prides itself on free enterprise. Are we so quick to squelch the entrepreneurial spirit of our neighbors? Are we so self serving to try and sway public opinion with rumor and negativity?
Recently, several experiences have occurred in my professional career that make the subject of “competition” an interesting topic to explore. For 21 years I built a career in Radio Advertising and Marketing by edifying others, and not giving in to the negativity of nay-sayers. Early in my career I learned a valuable lesson: “All Media is Good.” In fact, I’ve shared that with my clients and fully believe it. I’ve been blessed to make a good living using creativity to help my clients, not by throwing shade on my competition or on theirs.
The American business owner has a lot of hoops to jump through before the first customer ever crosses their threshold. Consider the amount of capital it requires for a person to develop a business model, not to mention the hundreds of hours seeking financing, acquiring real estate, obtaining permits, licenses and scheduling inspections. Contemplate the incredible challenge of hiring a competent and capable staff. Training the staff to represent the brand with the same passion and love for the customer that brought him or her to realize the dream to open their own business to begin with. Then add in the thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears to lift the dream off the ground. All that effort can be so quickly diminished with a single manipulative rumor, by a threatened competitor.
According to the Small Business Association 50% of Small Businesses fail in the first 5 years. The SBA further adds only 25% make it past 15 years. And here we stand so quick to judge, so quick to spread gossip in an effort to tarnish the competitors’ brand. If you are reading this and you’ve been in business for more than 15 years, congratulations! It is our responsibility to encourage and edify others, especially fellow business leaders. We should be fostering and mentoring fellow business owners, not trying to defeat them.
Wouldn’t it be boring to live in a town that only had one restaurant that only served one kind of pie? Look around, there really is enough pie for everyone.