Why you should be grateful for your competition

Why you should be grateful for your competition

Wouldn’t it be nice if your business had no competitors? Imagine — if customers wanted to buy what you were selling, they’d have to buy it from you. Or do without.

Think again. If your small business really had no competition, something would be very wrong. It could mean there’s simply no market for your product or service. Maybe others tried it and failed, or customers simply don’t want it. As old-time movie mogul Sam Goldwyn put it, “If people don’t want to go see your picture, nobody can stop them.”

Besides, people often grow to hate companies that don’t have competition. Look at Microsoft (especially in the past). Look at the growing grudge many people have against Google. (Not only for their past privacy intrusions but now — yikes! — their takeover of DoubleClick. If that doesn’t prompt you to start dumping your browser cache and deleting your cookies, I don’t know what will.)

Maybe the best example is cable television. You could hear the cheers all over New York after the stranglehold monopoly of cable systems within apartment buildings, condos and co-ops was struck down by the FCC.

Now if only those of us living in small cities had the same choices. For many of us, we have two options: one overpriced cable system — bloated with hundreds of channels we don’t even watch — or rabbit ears. Do I really have to pay $100+ a month to watch Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert a few times a month?

I wish I had a competing cable system to choose. I know that would drive down prices. Or maybe someone will finally introduce something all cable systems hate and fear: a la carte pricing. That is, you pay only for the channels you want. For most of us, that would probably be 10 or 20, not 200.

Actually, when it comes to television, this guy probably has the best idea.

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