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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 03-May-15


Sunday 03-May-15

Failure and success in small businesses

I've been watching a series recently on UK TV where Alex Polizzi, a small business owner and expert goes into failing small businesses and helps to turn them around. It's not easy, and what we get down is not necessarily the whole story, but it can make fascinating viewing.

The typical business info which she is parachuted is a family firm, often consumer-facing so consuming viewers can empathise, at least worth their customers. And customer focused is indeed a common issue. When you are struggling to pay the bills, it's easy to blame fussy customers. Yet good service is a key reason why many people go to small businesses and this is common issue to sort out.

Another issue where small firms fail is tidiness. It is so easy to end up with piles of old stock that is valued more by what was paid for it than how it can be converted into revenue, so a good clear-out is a common task. More than this, signage and general branding tends to be antiquated and confusing. It is amazing how much a lick of paint can help, and a complete rebranding exercise can be quite transformational. Of course it also makes great television in the same way as any makeover show causes oohs and wows.

The biggest transformation, however, is the people. In family firms where children feel trapped and their parents think they should be grateful, this can even fall into a quick bit of family therapy. Children get to grow up fast and the old dogs learn new tricks as the whole family gets shock treatment when they are shown successful other businesses, where they may even get a boot camp experience hat teaches them the value of focus and hard work.

In the end, such shows are about the modern business of transformation, where the customer is the product. And because you are watching, you too may be transformed as you learn more about business, life and people, and hence about yourself.

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