There’s this anda bhurji wala in Pune who I think makes the best bhurji going around.
That’s not true, of course, and I know that. Your run-of-the-mill eggs, same masalas, same dishes, nothing out of the ordinary. But hey, I’ve been eating there for over three years now, and there’s a level of familiarity that’s been built up over time.
But if he were to start charging double the rates overnight for his food – then no matter how good he is, and no matter how long I’ve been eating there, I’ll change shops. I’ll get more or less the same food, at almost the same level of quality and hygiene, and for half the price. What’s more, I won’t even have to look very far. Pretty much just stop at the next bhurji shop, and I’m set.
Of course, the bhurji wala knows this as well as I do, and therefore doesn’t raise prices at all over his competition, let alone double them. His regular customers love his food, but at that price. Charge more, and we’re going to move, because what have you got that others don’t?
And when you sell stuff that others do, and there are many “others”, and finding the “others” isn’t difficult at all, than you have it tough, because you’re selling in a competitive market. And let nobody tell you otherwise, selling in competitive markets is tough.
Because you’ve only got to sell what others do as well as you. Because you can’t charge higher, because the minute you do, all you customers switch, the ungrateful so-and-so’s. And because you and everybody else sell stuff that can be easily found by everybody. How do you get out of the game? Well, sell products or services that nobody else can (or will) build – iPhones, for example. Or at least convince people that what you’re buying is fundamentally different [link to product diversification article here].
And the reason this is a tough business is two fold: one, since everybody is selling what everybody else is selling, this is a very, very thin margin business. You will make hardly any money on every unit sold. Second, because this is a low margin business, it will likely remain a low margin business – nobody is going to “revolutionize” the anda bhurji business because there ain’t much to revolutionize.
So think twice before entering a competitive market as a seller, because it’s a tough old world out there. On the other hand, don’t pay all that much for a product in a competitive market, because hey – why would you?
But do try the bhurji at the stall I was speaking about. It’s the Famous Bhurji Center, in the lane opposite E-square multiplex. It’s just, like, the best ever.