The classic business book, “Who Moved the Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, tells a story about a mouse and his cheese. In the story, the mouse finds a wonderful supply of cheese and goes back to the same place each day to eat this great cheese. Eventually however, the cheese supply runs dry and the mouse is left hungry. But does the mouse move on and find a new cheese supply? No he does not. Instead, he comes back every day in the firm belief the cheese will return.
At first glance we might say this is silly. Of course anyone would move on and look for new cheese, wouldn’t they?
Not necessarily. We are in fact creatures of habit and those old habits die hard. To find new cheese we would have to explore uncharted territories. We would have to take chances, and in the long run we may never find the cheese we are looking for. We might even convince ourselves there is no shortage of cheese after all.
Many people run their eBay businesses just like this mouse. We may have had great success, or maybe we’ve just seen the success of others. We return to these old techniques just like the mouse returned to his cheese. We might turn our heads away as the stack of cheese gets smaller, or we might not even notice.
But eBay is a changing marketplace and the same old cheese can’t be found in the same old places. Every day there are sellers who close up shop on eBay because things just aren’t going like they used to. In the last year alone, at least three Platinum PowerSellers have moved on or gone completely bankrupt. Somebody moved the cheese, and these sellers waited too long in the hopes it would return.
So how can we keep an eye on our cheese, or when do we know our eBay business is headed for trouble? How can we keep an eye out for new trends which will affect our eBay businesses?
One key to watching the cheese is found in keeping an eye on our competition. What are they doing, and how is it working for them? Is there a new product your competitor has found success with, and could he be onto a new trend? Or on the other hand, is something not working for your competition and does it point to something you can change in your own business?
Spy on your competition and you won’t be left cold and hungry when somebody moves the cheese. It’s bound to happen, but will you be prepared when it does?
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