Yesterday was a very strange day. It was a day of unusual experiences that for me showed the disconnect between small Irish businesses and the principles of success. Two main experiences summed it up for me;
1. A credit note at a hardware store
2. A protest by subcontractors
The hardware experience.
I had to return an ash can, bought the day before, that was unsuitable for our requirements to a local family run hardware store. They did not have the size that I required and the owners first reaction on presenting the item back to him was – “You know I can only give you a credit note on that!”. I was a little taken aback at his abruptness and asked “why is that?”. Amazingly (as the store owner) he said “company policy”. As if the ‘the company’ was some faceless bureaucratic management structure far removed from the store! I said that I was a good customer and was prepared to take my business to the big national hardware stores where I could get a refund on an unused item bought the day before. His reaction was “well make sure you spend your credit note before you do!”. I left feeling like I had been swindled. It was only €50.00 but the principles of the man left me sick. Was my €50.00 worth more than the previous hundreds and possibly thousands that I could leave his store in the future? Obviously not. This is a classic case of small business myopia (short sightedness) that is rampant in Ireland.
The second moment of truth for me was watching a Prime Time TV report on small building sub-contractors protesting outside the gates of building firms that have gone bust. Their fear and myopia was pouring all their energy into protesting and pleading for money they were owed. What good can that possibly do their business? They have little or no chance of getting their money. All they are really doing is venting their anger. While I can sympathise with how they are feeling surely pouring their energy into new business ideas and development would better serve their cause? This would ensure their future to be positive and uplifting, rather than living in the past, which will acheive nothing for their cause.
What these two stories illustrate is how short sightedness and fear based attitudes can prevent us from creating meaningful success. You can overcome fear or myopia for you or your business by asking;
What do you need to let go of today that will allow you to move forward?
What can you put your energy into that will yield a great return?
What do you need to stand back from to see the big picture?
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