Firstly…I do have an axe to grind but it’s one that is entirely focused on your success.
I’ve had two spells living and working in this amazing city. Its people are wonderful and kind. It sits in a great big valley surrounded by nature. It really is like a big village nestled in the foothills of God’s own country.
I’ve been lucky enough to sit at a few top tables around the world where big things are planned and great (and not so great) ideas hatched. Sadly, many of these truly great intentions are reviewed unkindly through hindsight…despite one or two of us being at pains to point out why they would be.
I was once told of a Sheffield man standing in the rain at a bus stop as a Rolls Royce glided silently past…he could never imagine ever being in a position to own one of these great cars but he worked tirelessly to ensure that its owner joined him in the bus queue.
And here is what you don’t know about you and your business. Sheffield is a tough place to conduct business. Its people are uncompromising and have a bit of a chip on their shoulders. They are dour and tight fisted. They make do and mend. They voice their strong opinions and fight over seemingly insignificant things. They come from a city that has developed a ‘might-do’ attitude and it’s had several non-descript leaders all of whom became embittered by fruitless years of dogged but poor performance. We set our sights as low as we possibly can and often fail to get there.
Over the past few months, I’ve committed to buying everything that I can locally and from independent businesses. I want to continue doing this if I can. If I can…
But to be honest, I’ve been forced to endure some of the worst possible customer experiences of my life by taking this stance. From auto garages to upholsterers, food shops to clothing retailers, hair salons to hardware stores…I would not give the combined customer experience more than 4/10 with one or two brighter exceptions.
I’ve lived in many places around the world and in these places I would score them a pretty healthy 8/10 for their attitude towards success. Every business has its SALES PREVENTION OFFICERS…and these range from initial customer engagement, with what appear to be real live people, to online sales platforms that are clumsy, slow and inefficient.
So Sheffield, if you really do want to play with the grown ups…have really good people review your business from top to bottom. Use people that know what they are looking for and know what is needed to succeed. People that have run exceptional businesses themselves.
I’ll have a New Year £100 bet with any of you (and I never gamble) that I can find at least THREE of these SPOs in your business…but to find everything that really stifles growth and success, that may take us a little while longer…but we will get there…
We truly wish you a prosperous 2021 and one where you set aside the things that prevent it.