Search the Corners for Elephants!

I have met a number of business people recently, who are telling me that their business is struggling with the Global Financial Crisis. I must admit, there is a real feeling of slow down in most markets, especially the small to medium sized businesses that I work with.

I am also finding that when I test the evidence of the GFC having an impact on their business, I often find an elephant that is sitting, unoticed, in the corner.

A recent conversation with a café owner was a classic example.

Small Fish: “What is the greatest challenge that you are facing at the moment?”

Business Owner: “The Global Financial Crisis, it is causing people to bring in their own lunches. My sales on rolls and soft drinks are down around 80% on last year.”

Small Fish: “That is a lot of people bringing lunches in, but what else has been happening around that time?”

Business Owner: “There have been roadworks out the front, but they finished a few months ago and people were still able to get in.”

Small Fish: “That would have a fairly large impact. Has business picked up since the work was completed?”

Business Owner: “We have picked up a little, but I would have expected a lot more since our largest competitor closed down a while ago.”

Small Fish: “How long ago did they close down?”

Business Owner: “Around 18 months ago… when the Subway Restraunt opened across the road from me.”

Small Fish: “Ahhh!”

Now, I am not saying that business has not slowed down. What I am saying is that we have a tendency to blame what is happening in the world for our shortcomings, without looking at what is happening in our own backyard for immediate threats.

If your business is suffering from the Global Financial Crisis, I urge you to go out, today, and look at what your competitors are doing. You may find that they have found a smarter way to get your customers in their door.

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See you later.

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