Try, Try Again

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MANY years ago I was involved with a company that told me that they were always quiet in December. Investigation quickly explained why: all their stores shut for two weeks over the Christmas period! It transpired that in their early days the initial stores had struggled over this period and had quickly decided to accept the inevitable and close. Subsequent new stores had simply adopted this as the norm, so the company culture became established.

Further investigation dug up the fact that the early stores had a point. The product range was limited, and there was little to offer. Their client base was pretty well established, with a very limited demographic.

With a little juggling of existing products however it was possible to come up with a package specifically aimed at that time of the year, and at a group of people that were around at that time of year. It was a specific training package for students returning home for Christmas after their first term at college. They were just starting to realise some of their technical shortfalls and the requirements on them in future years, and parents were more than happy to pay for a worthwhile Christmas present.

It took a while to get the stores to accept this, but they did and it became a huge seller and spawned a whole range of similar targeted products, all based around existing stock.

I was reminded of this recently while watching Spain accept that the summer was over… I was sat on the beach having an ice cream at the time and it felt like the summer to me, but as I looked around it was pretty obvious everyone had “just accepted” that summer was over.

It is with a certain amount of deja vu that I have been talking to a number of businesses here in Spain recently. I have written before about how creative I have felt that a large number of British businesses have been: lowering prices, offering special deals, staying open longer, looking at new ways of advertising.

Unfortunately I still can’t say the same about the ‘typical’ Spanish business that I have dealt with: still very much a “this is how we have always done it”, a “it will all sort itself out after the crisis”, or the most frustrating one “ah, well that just wouldn’t work here” … without even giving it a try!

Doing new things is tough. Breaking old habits is hard, but with a long time ahead before the next vacation period in Spain, and an even longer period of recovery from the ‘crisis’ a little effort, encouragement and creativity won’t go amiss. As the old proverb says: If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!

Reflections From A Balcony In Spain: by Chris Marshall

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