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I want to break into a monopolised market. What should I do?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 | By Gillian Franklin
I am located in a small town and would like to start-up a petroleum business. It is monopolised by two or three retailers and would like to have some ideas on how to market it?

 

I have no knowledge of your industry or how it works so will draw on my general business knowledge to try and assist.

 

The starting point for me would be to ask two questions:

  1. What can you do that will be different to the existing competitors?
  2. Will your buyers care about this?

If you can answer these two questions in a positive way, then you can develop a sales and marketing plan around this.

 

If you are not sure about (2), then go and ask. You will be surprised to find how helpful people will be if you approach them with, “What can I do to improve my business?”

 

If you are saying the market is currently managed by large retailers, I would expect that service will be an area you can improve on.

 

People with large market share can often become lazy and you may be able to find ways of being more creative with your service – but ensure it is something your customer cares about and is seeking.

 

Some ideas to explore:

  • Lead times to order and receive stock.
  • Minimum quantities they are required to order.
  • Any discount for repeat business.
  • Payment terms.
  • Incentives for introduction to other customers.
  • Volume rebates for large orders (better than a first up price discount).

Also be prepared for the big guys to come after you if you are successful, so ensure that whatever you offer will be sustainable with competition.