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How long can we keep blaming the GFC?

How long can we keep blaming the GFC?There are often great parallels between the way we conduct business and participate in team sports. Just like in sports when we blame the referee for a poor decision which costs us the game, in business we tend to blame economic circumstances – the global financial crisis – on our bad business performance. But how long can we keep blaming the GFC?

The various ways in which we as business people have responded to the global financial crisis have been similar to the way we approach team sports. How we deal with the “in the moment” situations, whilst positioning ourselves for the inevitable change in the cycle in business is key to our business fortunes.

Imagine this metaphor between business and sport:

“The game is tight, only a few minutes left on the clock; downtrodden players are assembled looking to their leader to make that one winning play, that moment of inspired leadership.

In the past they’d easily beaten this team yet the players now find themselves perplexed, bewildered and anxious. Breathing in deeply, feeling their fitness levels wavering and seeking answers, the team players stare at their leader.

Team, “I think we are doomed” comes the quietly spoke words of the leader. You see, the other team is playing better, faster and stronger than us and the referee had made it impossibly hard for us. They all think if only the ref hadn’t made all those bad decisions!”

How many of us see the GFC, as the referee, rather than the GFC being an acronym for the Grand Future Crystallising, and then blame the referee as the final arbitrator to our business performance.

We all know that only the truly focused and ‘fit’ businesses play the game of business as full on participants, knowing that winning the grand final is within their power and is the ultimate goal.

So to be a higher performing team and not blame the referee (or the GFC), it’s vital to have:

  • A highly developed game plan – What are your 3-5 year goals for the business?
  • Skilful and committed players- Now is the time to increase focus on training, measuring and lifting the bar.
  • Exceptionally high levels of business fitness.
  • Be brilliant in the basics of delivering great value through outstanding customer service.
  • A high self belief that you will prevail in all conditions- speed of the leader, speed of the team- uncommon self belief and determination are the hallmarks of fit leaders.
  • “Blaming the referee” is not on. Focus on what you can control.

Most events that impact our business fitness happen within our control and not the other way around. So it’s time now for your business to get back in shape. The following tips may help:

  • Stay true to what you are great at and let the other “opportunities” pass on by.
  • Independent systems and frameworks are the key to a valuable business to avoid reliance on the owner /manager to “make things happen”.
  • Count the people that visit you- focus your attention on them.
  • Manage working capital investments more closely than ever as inventory levels are increasing with aging profiles getting more dated.
  • Conversion rates are slipping – get to know your customers. We know that on average only 25 percent of retail sales people actually try to close the sale.
  • Keep your business offer innovative and fresh if you want to motivate new customers to do business with you.
  • Considered risk and innovation become the forgotten words in the dictionary – batten down and so will your customers.

Turning back to the players, the leader said: “We must adjust our playing structure, mobilise to a common goal, be brilliant at the basics, listen and adapt to the referee and create a culture of winners if we are truly to be “Fit for Business(TM)”.

– Brian Walker is the managing director of The Retail Doctor Group (www.retaildoctor.com.au)

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Brian Walker

Brian Walker

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