Is your business at risk of doing a Woolworths?

Last year, Woolworths gave a last gasp for air before sinking beneath the waves of change, after a 100 year history.  They were comprehensively beaten on just about every front by Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda.

And the writing was on the wall for years before too – they had nothing unique to offer in terms of service or products, apart from Pick & Mix.  On the other hand, Tesco offers parking on their doorstep and sells groceries, too.

Picking up the odds and ends you’d normally nip into Woolworths to get was just too convenient during your weekly shop.

Woolworths became obsolete because they failed to create a strategy for the changing times.  They ignored it and hoped it would go away.

The same is true in small business.  You are the leader of your business – what is happening in your market?

And what will you do about it?

2 Comments

  1. Kathy Strong on August 15th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Woolworths had many other major growth and profit areas that they ignored. One of the most important was the attitude of their staff to the store and to customers. Stores were untidy, dirty even, staff were unfriendly and not helpful except for Broadstairs where one lonely soul went out of her way to help customers. She was the exception rather than the rule. In Ramsgate, staff looked disillusioned, tired and unkempt. There was no buzz, enthusiasm or warm welcome. Even given the fact that they had not kept pace with the times, the attitude of employees and the general ambiance of the store would have played a major part in turning customers away.

    Love your articles and your free advice. Thank you for helping me to remember why I love what I do. Kathy



  2. Lee on August 20th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hi Kathy,

    I’m not sure I saw any real difference in staff attitudes in my local Woolworths compared with other big retailers, but maybe I just didn’t go in enough to notice!

    I think ultimately it comes down to the leadership thing again – if the staff aren’t motivated and don’t have a buzz about them, there’s not only a leadership vacuum at the top of the business, but also all the way through, right down to shop and departmental level.

    For an organisation to be successful, you need leaders at every level, starting at the top. When you fail to nurture your leaders, you end up with a hollow business.

    Lee

    P.S. Your warm comments are appreciated!



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