Most business owners see customers nothing more than as cash cows. They would love customers to come to their store, buy something and off they go. But to really develop a successful business, consider that you are partners with your customers. Take time to talk to them, get to know them better, take an interest in what they do and look for ways how you can your business serve them better. This will definitely make your customers loyal to you and if your competitor tries to steal them away from you by offering lower prices for the same products or services you are offering. There is little chance that they will succeed. Even if you are selling them at a higher price, loyal customers will still buy from you.
Businesses that has become too introspective, concerned with profits and their own interest are unlikely to develop any kind of relationship with their customers. It is these type of business that will not experience long term success. By listening and being sensitive to what your customers needs, you will be able to see changes in their purchasing habits and adapt to that quickly to meet their demands.
It is not ok to have a business that is viewed as inflexible. The pager industry faded into oblivion when GSM cell phones were introduced. People find it more convenient to use since you don't have to call an operator to get your message across. You just type it and viola! Instant messaging. Having a small business is not an excuse to be inflexible in what products or services you are offering. Listen to what your customers are saying and look at the market trend. Look to customers as partners in your business, don't tell them what they want but listen to them on what they want.