Report

Secret to a successful 2017

The story goes like this: a business had been struggling to survive in these difficult economic times. It had traded very well a few years ago but times had become ‘tough’ since customers had tightened their belts.Concerned his staff had lost motivation, the owner decided to review the business before drastic action was needed.First, he spoke to staff who assured him they were doing everything just as well as they always had – there was no reduction in customer service levels. Despite this, there were fewer customers and sales were still falling. What was the probl?The owner contacted a motivational expert, one who specialised in training staff to deal with harsh economic conditions. Everyone was required to attend a two-hour sales training course the following Friday morning.The staff were given a leaflet that outlined the session: ‘Thrive and prosper when times are tough’, which included details about the managent guru and concluded with this promise: “While other industry experts will lecture you about ways to improve your sales in difficult economic conditions, I promise you that by the end of my two-hour session you’ll know the one and only secret to making money in tough times.”{{quote-A:R-W:450-Q: When times are tough, do something about it! }}The staff thought, “Wow, this is going to be amazing. Our probls are solved and the company will be strong again.”Friday arrived and everyone sat patiently in the room where the chairs were organised in neat rows. The motivational guru started his well-rehearsed session.He was inspirational and rousing. Covering everything from customer psyche and service to sales and marketing, everyone in the room became upbeat. The owner smiled and was pleased with his decision to get an external expert to train and motivate the staff. He could not have done better.The session ended with the guru offering to answer questions. There were a wide range of queries, ranging from product presentation, business trends, and store managent to staffing and sales forecasting. The session was a hit. Even the owner was excited.Just as the session was about to conclude, one of the staff mbers, Bill, spoke up. Bill was known for being shrewd and astute. He didn’t speak often but when he did everyone listened. The room fell silent.“On behalf of all the staff, I’d like to thank you for your wonderful session. You are certainly inspiring and you have given us some excellent advice.”Knowing their teammate well, Bill’s colleagues could see a ‘but’ coming along. Sure enough, Bill added, “But … you spoke for two hours and your leaflet said you’d show us the one and only secret to being successful in tough times. You haven’t done that. What is this so-called secret?”You could see everyone in the room think about Bill’s question and nod in agreent. As good as the session was, not once had the motivational speaker spoken about improving business in difficult times. The room fell silent again.The guru stood and announced loudly, “You know, you are absolutely correct and I apologise. If anyone wants to know the secret to making money in tough times, please stand and move behind your chair.” Although everyone was a little confused, they all stood and moved behind their chairs. The expert then said, “Now turn your chair upside down.”Somewhat bewildered, the staff upturned their chairs only to see an envelope taped to the bottom with the word ‘Secret’ written in red ink. The business guru told everyone to open their envelopes. Inside was a crisp, new $20 note taped to a sheet, which read:“Unfortunately there are no secrets in this world however … you just earned $20 by getting off your arse!”And, therein lies the ‘secret’ to business success: when times are tough, do something about it!