Rachael Taylor on why sure and steady often wins the race.
In a world made complicated and fast by new and constant ways of working such as social media, multichannel retail and Blackberries, the benefits of slowing down and getting back to basics can be sorely undervalued.
When business is going well, the answer is often to push forward and enter new areas; when a business is doing badly it often creates a panic that can lead it to the same sort of strategies, only this time it usually has terminal effects.
The recent administration of Azendi is a lesson in point. As big-brand silver stole the market share, its own-brand lines failed to compete with the power of the likes of Pandora or Thomas Sabo, nor did it sit well in the market in terms of pricing.
And in the final two years before the administration we witnessed the business grasping at new straws – designer jewellery, watches, rapid store expansion and even a short stint as a wholesaler.
From the outside, this could be perceived as encouraging business growth and expansion, but if the core product offer of a business is not strong enough then additional strings to a bow can weaken rather than strengthen it.
Brown & Newirth was a business in a similar position. A year ago, the outlook for the British manufacturer was not a sunny one; its parent company was struggling to stay afloat and its order book was drying up. In desperation it instigated a rebrand and tried to change creative direction.
These major changes didn’t work back then, but the business is now turning around and it is not due to a new range or marketing visual but because of a new management team that realised it had to get back to basics by speaking to customers it had lost and simply asking what would bring them back. And it has worked.
This move was a simple, but evidently effective, and a lesson we can all take on board. Building up a business’s core strength before branching out into new areas will give it a solid platform to grow from. Trying to be a jack of all trades will confuse customers and your staff will lose focus.
So next time you have a brainstroming session, take a little time to think about the simple things in life and how you can do them even better than you are now, as well as those big dreams.
This article was taken from the April 2012 issue of Professional Jeweller. To view a digital version of this issue online click here.