Adapt or die

Posted on 30/10/2012 by Karen

As you may know, government funding to the BECs (Business Enterprise Centres) was cut earlier this year. Now as someone who’s been working closely with a number of BECs for 4 years, I’ve also been affected. They used to fund 2 hours of my time to help individual SMEs with their advertising, so the small business owner could get my assistance for free. Well, those days are gone. And so is 30% of my income. After the initial panic, I realised it’s time to reinvent myself again. Luckily I’m adaptable. Which is where we SMEs have an advantage over the big guys. No committees, no multi-level management. So we can change things fast.

Some of the big guys are not adapting fast

I was at a major retailer the other day, you could have fired a cannon through their store without hitting anybody. Including staff! I couldn’t find anyone to serve me at major department store once, so I picked up the phone behind the counter, called the switchboard and asked if they could please send someone. That worked. I recommend it.

A friend told me the other day that Myer don’t do store transfers any more. They finally accepted her order, but wanted credit card details and she had to prepay for postage. Compared to some online stores that offer free delivery and free returns in 100 days, that’s just not good enough. She told me that she couldn’t care less about the Loyalty Card, she just wanted some good service. Sadly, stores seem to be cost cutting in the wrong places.

The old ways of doing things are not enough

Times are a bit scary now for businesses. There seem to be a lot of empty shops around. People are shopping online. Looks like the GFC had just been delayed in Oz. Sometimes there’s nothing that you can do — but other times there are opportunities that we may be able to grab if we think differently. Our businesses need to adapt or they’ll die. Not everything you try is going to work, but if you Track then Tack it’s gotta be better than just waiting to drown.

Oh and by the way, despite the government cuts, the BECs are still around for good advice and assistance for small business owners.