Why Walmart closing stores matters to your business plan

Low prices are not enough. What are you doing to show customers you provide value?

Customers want something new.

You might have heard  that Wal-Mart is closing stores in several small and rural communities.  It’s a tough blow for many of those communities.  Because their small businesses were hit hard  when Wal-Mart came to town.  And now that they are leaving, customers are stuck with few options.

My friends, that spells opportunity for you!

No, I don’t mean that you should open a retail store.

But pay attention to the trend.  When the world’s biggest store starts closing stores, something is shifting.  Even if it’s only a fraction of their stores.

It means something is not working.

And that my friends… Is a great thing for entrepreneurs.

Why?

Customers want something different.  Low prices are not enough.  They need services and products that speak to THEIR needs. A new business model.

Even if you have a completely different type of business from Wal-Mart.   People are being more careful about where they spend their money.  Low prices are not enough.  They want better business models that serve them.

So keep asking how your business can do that.  How can your business serve the needs of people better?

Here’s an example:

This past winter, we got hit with a big snowstorm.  Yes, the news warned us.  But I don’t think anyone was ready because, the weather was unseasonably warm (40-50 degree) the week prior.

However, the big shift was the reactions I saw on social media.  People were complaining that young people were not knocking on doors –  offering to shovel snow.  I laughed at several memes reflecting the  frustration.  People felt the youth were too busy inside playing video games.

Ohhhh my friends.  That is an opportunity!!  

I was wishing that one of those teens would create an app.  An app that connects local community members.  Or one that matches laborers with those who need labor done.

I know some grown folks who might have wanted to earn some extra cash!  But weren’t going to knock door to door AND shovel.

So, I encourage you to put on your creative thinking cap.  Don’t think about your business from the traditional sense of pushing a a product or service.

  • What is it that people really want?
  • How can you tap into it so that you can create a service/product that has people lining up to buy from you?
  • Is it rethinking the current way that people buy your service?
  • Is it offering it only for limited peak periods?
  • Is it providing a new method of customer service – ie. limited or unlimited email access?
  • Seriously, play around with the ideas to re-create what you are offering.  Get creative and playful.

Then fill out the 1 Page Business Plan and test your idea.  Be willing to commit for 90 days to market the idea to 50 people to get their feedback.  If you get 5 or 6 people to buy the service, you might have something  solid to run with!

So tell me what interesting new ideas have emerged for you?  Share them in the comments.