Cheese moving or the art of keeping up to date

Riding down a local street recently I noticed that one of my favourite local businesses had closed down.

I say favourite, but the truth is that I rarely visited the little DIY shop because I generally shop online nowadays. It’s just easier to order a widget at 11.30 at night after a day working than it is to make a special journey into town.

The closure made me sad, partially because the business had gone, partially because I liked the atmosphere and partially because I saw it coming from a long way off.

Years ago I would visit to get that hard to find bolt and the brown coated owner would fish in the back of a shop, finding just the right thing from a myriad of unmarked wooden drawers as if by magic.

We’d chat about life, the universe and everything. And business.

Convinced that the internet was a fad he refused to think about online retailing, eschewed email, closed on Wednesday afternoon and answered the phone in a gruff manner.

In short I loved it because it was just like shops used to be in my youth.

But I didn’t buy there much.

The closure reminded me of Spencer Johnson’s excellent book “who moved my cheese” the parable of change and more importantly people’s reaction to it.

I could see that my beloved owner had decided that changing markets didn’t exist and if he stuck it out long enough then things would return to ‘normal’.

Well that doesn’t happen and it provides us business owners with a timely reminder that we need to be prepared to spot and adapt to changing markets.

Posted in Thought.