Blockbuster, who supplied our families with great rental movies for generations was king of the castle in the movie rental business. Did you know, Netflix originally contacted Blockbuster and wanted to manage their online inventory. After Netflix was laughed away by Blockbuster, they decided they would become the competition and change the market. Blockbuster did nothing to change, they thought their business model could not be penetrated. Blockbuster was too focused on late fees and could not see the future of the online market. Unfortunate for Blockbuster it was only a matter of time until they became complacent in a changing world. Where are they now? They had the upper hand cornering the market, and by the time they wanted to change it was too late.
Had blockbuster seen the revolution coming they could have remained the king of video rental. They already had the customer base and capital to make the change, but refused the idea of people buying into and online concept. They were too focused on the brick and mortar store and how things have always been done within the movie rental business. If you look throughout the history of business this has happened time and time again to such businesses who fail to change. Yet, if you look at the great businesses that have lasted the testament of time such as Walgreens, or Avon, these companies they have all changed and adapted because of competition and new ideas or technology.
Right now the car wash industry is in an upswing and there are many innovations that are available, this industry has advanced leaps and bounds from its 1980’s mindset in just the last 5 years. I believe there will be even more yet to come over the next few years as we explore more efficient ways of doing things and embrace the technologies available in other industries. It is an exciting time to be a part of car washing.
When it comes to competition, think about why we get into business in the first place. We go into business because we are visionaries. We see a better way of doing things. We have new ideas or we want something that did not exist before. Either way, we are full of purpose and drive. I bet when Blockbuster started they had the same ideas and visions. I know that like any small business they didn’t start out with 500 stores, they started with a single purpose. Yet, we get to a point just like Blockbuster where things become comfortable and all of that purpose goes out the window. Too many times people look at competition as a bad thing, and in the car wash industry we are no different. Suddenly a new car wash pops up down the street or a few miles away from your site, but do not fret. Afraid of competition? Really? What your saying is, you don’t want to try. When all you really have to do is, do it better than them. That’s it, get those juices flowing again, reinvent, remember why you got into business in the first place. They are the new guy, you are established, don’t be Blockbuster, and kick the competition to the curb. Freshen up the curb appeal and wash like you did when you started. Do not, I repeat do not! Lower your prices. When you lower your prices you are admitting defeat, you are showing that you have a lowered perceived value and also showing a complete lack of confidence. Not saying a coupon blast is not in order, make sure that you meet your expectations of your customers for what they are paying. And bottom line, whatever the competition is doing do it better!