Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What’s Different?

When opening a business most future entrepreneurs look around at their future competition to evaluate what they are doing right and what they think they are doing wrong. They will also look at other businesses in their industry they may not be competing with, possibly in other locations, that they want to emulate. If someone has found a formula for success, why not cash in on that and copy it? There is nothing wrong with that.

Unfortunately, most future business owners don’t do enough research. Paintball field owners are for the most part guilty of this. Most future field owners look around their potential market area, see what others are doing, copy the good and try to improve on the bad. But for the most part, they are copying what everyone else is doing with only minor changes, hoping it will be enough to attract a larger portion of the market to their field. Usually they concentrate on one aspect of the business to improve on over their competitors. For instance, one field owner may figure that kick-ass tourney fields are missing in the marketplace and will build great turf fields to attract all the players that find that important. Others may think that prices are too high and will offer lower prices to attract a larger portion of the market to his field. There is nothing wrong with taking any of these approaches if the field owner is committed to them and follows through with his plan. If all works well, it may work and he may get a bigger part of the pie.

In reality, this is small thinking though, in my opinion. Doing things better or making minor changes to attract a larger portion of the pie is fine, but why not go for the gusto and do what you need to do, to enlarge the pie and attract a whole new customer base? Every market in North America has all kinds of people that would more than likely love to play paintball, even though they may never have tried before or even given it much thought. What does a field owners need to do to attract those customers? What does a field owner need to do to keep those customers once they came once? What can a field do to stand out and be different from all the other fields to cash in on that potentially huge market? Doing the same as every other field with only minor changes isn’t going to do it.

If you are a potential field owner, I can’t tell you what that difference is. It’s probably different in every marketplace. I do know it doesn’t include marketing to paintballers. Those already playing paintball don’t need to be marketed too much. You either have what they want or you don’t. You need to be different so that those not already playing paintball feel the need to try it, and they feel the need to try it at your field. Don’t be afraid to do things different from what everyone else is doing. There is no success without risk. Just make sure it’s calculated risk.

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