business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Some stories are so good that even when retold they never lose their power. And that’s why when it comes to competitive challenges I always think of a wonderful scene in the movie Young Frankenstein.

In the scene, Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant, Igor, are digging up a dead body for the experiment in re-animation. It’s a cold, dirty and disgusting job. But, as Igor (that’s eye-gore, not e-gore by the way) points out, it could be worse. It could be raining.

And with that, it starts to rain.

So it is with competition. No matter how hard you think it is, there’s always a way it can get tougher…and then it happens.

Or to put it another way, there's always another hump to get over.

A number of readers have commented recently about the attention MNB gives to the looming threat of, as if not mentioning the e-commerce giant would somehow make things better. It won’t. The challenge that Amazon presents to virtually every retailer is going to be enormous ... and not just from Amazon, but from all the companies that themselves are innovating to do battle with it.

It's not just Amazon that should give you nightmares. It’s also Aldi and Lidl, the array of dollar stores, c-stores and drug stores. It’s Martha Stewart following the path of Blue Apron for meal services and all those celebrity chefs who will follow.

Still raining.

I received an e-mail this weekend from my gym - Lifetime Fitness - reminding me that they too are a culinary option. The little café located inside my gym is now being hawked as an excellent option for mealtime dilemmas because, as they say:

“LifeCafe Meals to Go entrees and snacks are conveniently packaged for you to bring home, to work or wherever your day takes you. Just look for the specially marked Meals to Go cooler in LifeCafe and discover wholesome food for your busy life.”

Still raining.

Let’s be clear, I go to the gym for many reasons and meal solutions are never on that list. But I can understand why others in my gym might feel differently. There are gym members who use the facility for personal training, day care and the salon. They regularly get meals and beverages from the café.

For them the gym is more than a gym; it’s an integral part of life including their desire to live healthier. That goes beyond personal training and into nutrition. They get advice on vitamins and supplements at the gym, and increasingly, the gym tries to sell them meals.

The fact that our gym has both a relatively new Harris Teeter and a Walgreens across the street is unimportant. Somehow the gym has invaded the health and wellness space both of those retailers can easily fill.

And that’s why the Young Frankenstein story matters because the job in front of us always gets harder. Increasingly every business sector sees a widening field of competitors and challenges for its core market. Increasingly we all become aware that no matter how good we are, we need to find a way to constantly get better or risk falling behind.

Still raining. From where I sit, there is a far greater chance of a hurricane than of sunshine anytime soon.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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