Recently, there has been much conversation about the merger of optical industry giants Luxottica and Essilor. However, this merger should not come as a surprise to anyone. These unions are common in every industry. Take food, for example. Ten companies can be named in the food industry that control most of the world’s food production. Such corporations are publically traded and are legally obligated to their shareholders to demonstrate growth and increase revenue each quarter.
As a result, the actions of a few large companies affect the business of many small establishments. In order to achieve their objective, these conglomerates are not required to protect the interests of the independent organizations. Naturally, the welfare of small businesses is abated when having to choose between their shareholders and you, the independent.
Nevertheless, as an independent, you similarly have a responsibility to shareholders made up of you and your family, your employees and their families. You must also make decisions based on what is best for them and your business. The independent has the power to choose the vendors they do business with.
As the industry changes, the independent must also adapt to the challenges that come with those changes. In addition to evaluating your vendor list, you must also review the measures you are taking to increase your customer base for your business to grow. Just as you have expressed the importance of having vendors that support you, your customers are also bias towards those providers that are advocates of their lifestyles and well-being. A specific market you should be paying close attention to is the growing population of Millenials, who have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation.
Take the steps to communicate to this market because most likely your competitor will if they haven’t already done so. During my lectures, I mention specific strategies you can practice to build your brand within the community. Start with the following strategies:
- Promote your business on the web. The internet is an amazing promotional medium that puts your business in the palm of your customers’ hands. Marketing channels such as Social Media, Email, and Local Directories are extremely powerful and cost-effective tools for the small business.
- Make-over your business. Take steps to update your practice. When I travel on the road, I still see offices with mid-century displays. Modernize your interior decor with clean lines, a pop of color, and LED lighting to highlight your product.
- Reach out to your community. Get involved with local events and activities. Charities, shows, and sports are a great space to network and build your brand.
The Luxottica-Essilor merger should not discourage but motivate you to reevaluate the options you have available that will nourish your business and allow you to grow and succeed in this challenging market. There are suppliers for you to choose from and establish business partnerships with that are mutually beneficial for both parties.
I hope this article resonates with those of you that are concerned with recent industry changes and look forward to hearing from you. See you on the road. – Mark Dolabany, Founder and CEO