The art of competition

weekly roundup Over lunch the other day, I listened as the owner of a local service provider described the challenges he faced as a player in a market that's largely dominated by one major provider.His main grouse wasn't about the anti-competitive tactics that this big player sometimes employs, albeit, subtly.

weekly roundup Over lunch the other day, I listened as the owner of a local service provider described the challenges he faced as a player in a market that's largely dominated by one major provider.

His main grouse wasn't about the anti-competitive tactics that this big player sometimes employs, albeit, subtly. Rather, he grumbled mostly about how tough it was to persuade other smaller players in the market to band together and collectively lobby their products as competitive alternatives against that one large provider.

He related how this was a common marketing strategy deployed in the United States, where he has seen several smaller players combine their resources to put out an ad that directly targets a large player in their market. While the ad lists individually the sales contacts of each of the small players, it was singular in its objective--to unite efforts in diminishing a competitor's monopolistic hold on the market.

We rationalized that the unwillingness to launch a similar cooperative here stems from a fear that the large provider will retaliate and stop supplying its infrastructure to the smaller players--which they depend on to operate.

It's a tough call. How do you muster the courage to stand up to the bigger boys when you're already struggling to keep your small business afloat? And yet, if you did nothing, the monopolies could capture even more market share until there's little left for the smaller players to feed on.

The only viable option may well be to grit it, and go for the kill. If you're too small to fight solo, your next best bet is to fight in unison.

American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only that ever has."

So go ahead, rock the boat, wake the sleeping tiger and brace yourself for battle! Unless, of course, someone out there has a better way of competing against the big boys?

In other news this week, find out why change may be the only constant in the IT education sector and why Sony Ericsson would be happy for you to describe its SO703i mobile phone as smelly. Also, Windows mobiles get an Apple makeover--or not-- while Dell Computer faces legal action over its 'exploding' laptops.

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