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 July 1, 1996

Business owners needn’t look far to spot the demon competition

No one knows better than this newspaper the challenges and rewards of competition. As related previously in this space, this publication has reached
its current status due in part to the intensely competitive arena into which we thrust ourselves one year ago.

Our strategic plan has been shaped by that competition, and competition has guided to some extent what elements we’ve added to this newspaper,
when we’ve added them and what we’ll add in the future. The very format of this newspaper was determined in part by competitive considerations.
Ours is a much better product having had competitors at every turn.

And while we fully realize the distance we’ve yet to travel, we have made major strides, as evidenced by the journalistic awards we received for work
published in just our first three issues. (See the June issue for details). We know how good it feels to have a venture solidify even in the face of heated
competition.

Perhaps that’s why we’re excited by the competitive sparring that’s taking place in some of this region’s most prominent industries, namely
commercial and residential real estate, health-maintenance organizations and temporary employment.

Stories on each of those industry segments can be found in this month’s issue. Read these articles, and two facts come out crystal clear: The level of
competition is unprecedented, and businesses everywhere are scrambling to preserve, secure or increase market share.

It’s not unlike what we continue to experience in the banking industry, among restaurants and with big-box retailers. Not to mention the wave of
Internet companies that continues to wash over the Northern Colorado landscape.

If one company succeeds in a market, competition will surely follow. And what that competition means is that customers -including business
customers – will reap the rewards through lower costs, discounts and better service.

This especially will hold true with those industries cited above. The temporary-employment industry can be cutthroat, with quality of worker, service
and cost weighing into how companies choose an employment agency. Does anyone doubt that costs will go down or at least remain stable with the
arrival of both CoreStaff and the California-based Apple One? Could it be that some smaller players will be forced out of the market?

This scenario holds true with other industries. Competition among HMOs, still a relatively new concept along the Northern Front Range, leads to
lower rates for businesses and employees alike. And HMO competition can lead to more-flexible terms or offerings from what can be a very closed
system.

Banks compete for deposits and loans. Big-box retailers offer sales. Restaurants must keep costs low and quality high or shut their doors.
Newspapers must be ever vigilant in search of the coveted scoop and in-depth profile (and must keep advertising rates reasonable).

What will be fascinating in the months ahead will be to watch which temp agencies open where, how they market, and how they lure employees and
business contracts. I want to see how banks will attract the business and consumer dollar. And how will all these HMOs differentiate themselves in
the market? How many Internet companies will fall by the wayside in the next year, month or even week? Which restaurants will, as Boston Market
recently did in Loveland, be the next to shut down?

Businesses everywhere face competition. Those that survive will do so only with a good product, excellent service and a heavy dose of strategic
thinking.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at ncbr@aol.com. The Business Report’s World Wide
Web page can be found at http://www.ncbr.com.

No one knows better than this newspaper the challenges and rewards of competition. As related previously in this space, this publication has reached
its current status due in part to the intensely competitive arena into which we thrust ourselves one year ago.

Our strategic plan has been shaped by that competition, and competition has guided to some extent what elements we’ve added to this newspaper,
when we’ve added them and what we’ll add in the future. The very format of this newspaper was determined in part by competitive considerations.
Ours is a much better product having had competitors at every…

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