I met with a business owner the other day. We were talking about a wide variety of matters– however, I mentioned to him that a mutual acquaintance of ours had told me that he had bought a product at the mall instead of from the small business owner. As we were talking, the business owner told me that actually, there was no comparison–what we were talking about was Lemons and Apples!
UMMM– I had to explore that. OK, here is what I discovered. The small business owner had the same type of products that the mutual acquaintance bought at the mall. The real difference is in the quality of the product. Both products LOOK the same, however, that is where the similarities stop– they LOOK the same. Further exploration reveals that the key components of the product are different, one is made much more robustly (the one sold by the small business owner) as compared to the one sold by the mall store. Additionally, the components of the product LOOK the same, but, are indeed, much different upon close inspection.
Now, the real question is, “Does LOOK really tell you the value of the product?” Well, of course not, anyone knows that the answer is NO to that question! When you are comparing a product, one has to be sure that all of the components are the same– in size, weight, shape, quality, finish, etc. If you cannot say with 100% certainty that both are the same, then indeed, you are comparing apples and lemons.
The small business owner is usually better suited to provide the better quality product. Why? Well, he/she has been in business for a long time, normally knows the product that they carry and can identify the strengths and weaknesses of each product. Price is one facet of a product that needs to be discussed. If the price at the mall is cheaper, the obvious question that one has to ask is “Is it the same product?” Normally, the answer is NO, however, you need to do some exploratory work to be able to answer that question with complete certainty.
If you are interested in buying something, the small business owner probably has the best product. Yes, it may be cheaper at the mall or other big box store, however, the real question that you have to ask is “Is it the same product?” In most cases, the products LOOK alike, however, that is where the similarity ends! Make sure that you are buying the identical product at the mall before you dismiss the small business owner. Our experience is that the small business owner normally has the best product and best service, even if it costs more!