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Business 70s Style doesn’t work

The business universe of 2014 is hyper-competitive even at the local level. It’s also hyper-connected. In 2014 it’s not enough to sit back and hope business rolls in the door from the 30 mile radius without some level of planning, organisation and strategy. Business 70s style doesn’t work (anymore) and doing it the old way is generally catastrophic.

It used to work. There was definitely a time when business owners could walk out onto the main street of Hometown Somewhere and suck a big tank full of air into their sack-of-yesterday lungs and know they had a captive audience. Hometown Somewhere had little choice but to take what was served, either with complaint or congratulation.

Those were the yippee days before the current phase of globalisation took us into a world where more business transactions occur in a single day than occurred in any of the years of the 1960s. That’s a powerful step forward for our ability to do good (or harm) as businesses. But it’s also a powerful step into the wilderness of survival of the fittest.

It also means a small business owner can’t just rely on riding through the troughs without consideration of the next phase of the economy. These are now global markets. Downturns can occur not simply because the large employer outside Hometown Somewhere is putting off labour… it can occur because somebody in Greece spent more than their allotted clam shells on the dime of other countries.

The cliche brush stroke at this point generally reads “Businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail.”

That’s why the modern small business owner doesn’t stroll out onto main street with an air of ownership anymore. If they don’t want to compete against the world then it’s too late… the world is competing with them. It’s a more volatile world where any point that starts turning a profit attracts competitors who want a serviceable share. On the one hand it’s an opportunistic vulture economy… on the other it’s a chance to out-compete and expand market share.

That’s why there is a competitive edge to maintaining a live business plan and strategic marketing strategy. The term live means it’s never thrown into a drawer to gather dust; live documents are constantly updated as circumstances change. In this environment, if you want to compete to win, there are opportunities and threats that can’t be attended to on a half-yearly or annual basis.

I get a little disheartened seeing local small businesses that have no idea why they are failing. Especially when it is obvious. Cash flow and time value of money. Marketing. Failure to recognise and implement strategy. Missed opportunities to generate revenue from private (and public) sources. Disinterest in the drudgery of running a business.

It’s not enough anymore to be a decent painter, grocer or consultant. In 2014 you also need to actively compete for the global dollar.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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