Admit it -you do this too. You know how regardless of which deliciously described menu item you order in a restaurant, whatever the server sets in front of your dinner partner always looks more tempting? Well, I have this issue with reading material as well. I can be sitting on an airplane completely engrossed in my favorite publication and still, someone across the aisle always pulls out a book, magazine, something that looks more interesting. I snoop, stretch my neck, block the aisle, I just can’t help it. I have to read that article before they turn the page. So,the other day, a man at the next table in Starbucks was reading USA Today and I saw the headline, “Recession creates openings for upstarts”. I saw the words “layoffs” and “spending cuts” and then before I could read the rest, he turned the page. Of course, this got the cogs rolling and I started thinking about how so many big businesses are closing their doors and that this does open up opportunities for the smaller mom and pop operations who couldn’t compete when the big boxes were going strong. True, they don’t have the buying power to compete price-wise, but if the big guys are pulling out, they don’t have competition.
Frequently, the mega stores get into trouble because of rapid growth and an overextending of resources. This is the perfect opportunity for a small startup to build slowly and strategically, and this not only true for retail but a boutique service business in almost any sector can take advantage of this opportunity to jump in and gain market share. It was hours after my coffee-neighbor left with his paper before I was able to search for the article, which gave me plenty of time to appreciate the uncharacteristically optimistic journalism. How hopeful ,this headline “Recessions Create Openings.” When I finally got my hands on the newspaper,I couldn’t find the article in the business section. Tossing the sports section aside (yes, I’m one of those) I spotted the headline. The article was referring to Nascar teams cutting spending and I don’t really know, or honestly care, how that would make openings for new Nascar teams. I don’t even understand what all the fuss is about Nascar. But what I do know is that snooping to read the paper over a strangers’ shoulder confirmed my belief that small business can not only survive but thrive in this tough economy, even if that wasn’t what the article was about.