Archives for category: business development

I often ask myself why sustainability has been framed within compliance – this don’t’ affect profits, increase competitive edge nor celebrate a distinct footprint.

The world is not perfect and neither is the way that companies address new opportunistic business by only getting on board with sustainability through compliance.

Sustainability is widely seen as the ‘new’ thing next to Lean, Glocalization and Retention. But it’s not – it’s so MUCH more than your usual buzzwords and kind of inevitable.

Nevertheless sustainability is anchored as sanctuary for dead fish already going down stream – not as the solution to gain new business or as profit generator in general. Why would companies otherwise categories sustainability as just a focus within compliance.

Sustainability needs to grow beyond compliance and in to highly creative development, like any profit center that wants to stay in business!

Think about how often upgrades to your computer are made available. How often new, faster and better systems are presented to us. If it isn’t Apple it’s Google or one of the other players, in or outside the Valley, which have seen ways to improve or revolutionize.

They are constantly developing – to win share of wallet the next 6-9 months. But what we have today will be made twice as fast in just 9-12 months.

The developers never stop exploring, and creativity blooms like never before – and today developers can be everybody from a 9-year old girl or boy with a great idea.

These developers are motivated by stock options, dollars and cents, market share and personal accomplishments that equal size of paycheck and attention. As many before them they sadly didn’t learn about creativeness. They themselves have to develop, secure and constantly improve on creative technical skills and are NOT motivated by taking part in sponsoring, in the world at large getting smarter!

They are always on the lookout for new inventions, and of cause have the budgets to do so, since the business’ know what would happen if they were to take out all efforts from innovation and development departments!

These business’ also recognize than “change is the only constant”, hence don’t applaud a common misunderstood say – “why change a winning formula”!

Whether they are seen as true future explorers I doubt, but I know that among our esteemed employees in sustainability, CSR and CSI we must find legitimate future explorers and innovators.

This is NOT the fact in 95% of all companies today! Here compliance rules only. They don’t invent and create as they do in Silicon Valley. Fact is that only few have the true skills to actually do so or claim the room to develop!

This is wrong! Because there is huge potential in turning sustainability into a reel profit center.

We should applaud these explorers, give them creative skills, room to operate and discover! Yet we merely laugh or get annoyed about the work they do – since they are NOT truly a part of the team, because they measure and regulate instead of developing. They are reactive instead of being proactive explorers and inventers like the ones in the Valley!

But sadly it seems like the older the ‘developers’ get the more restraint and non-creative they get, yet good employees since they were trained – or should I say restraint – to work within compliance!

And from this position they do only very little good!

We need to change this picture!

We need to start documenting that companies can profit hugely from sustainability and position themselves in a blue ocean zone.

Because then other companies will rise to the opportunity – since there have always been money in being between the first!

Just an example, I know about a company within work wear that went beyond compliance – they are today number one Internationally in the category!

I know that we kill peoples interest if we constantly and only talks about the devastation and how ugly our beloved planet is becoming – so please Al, stop talking about the problem and become part of the solution!

I learned from Anthony Giddens – a man of great expertise – that we should not wait for government or the international society at large!

So start to create before it’s too late – for your business!


As part of my passion for shopper psychology and my constant super-search for the perfect store, I have over the years learned that value created through WOWability, or if you in an other way manage to cross shopper expectation with something unanticipated, you have managed to create positive tension to attract traffic.

But business can’t exist from only attraction, WOWability or positive tension without a positive revenue stream. We need to convert traffic! Get people to buy regularly and take the basket size to the next level. Get consumer interested in visiting more often, stay longer, we need people to talk to people about the store, to become one with the store. We need our traffic to carry an evolving message about the entire extra that we offer.

Therefore we need to offer something special – in terms of product, knowledge, service, presentation, interaction, relation and much more – all because retail is detail!

Let’s take a short look at some of the key words.

Product – if we don’t offer the expected – we can’t get them to buy something else! We simply give them a reason to walk away empty handed, and by the way somewhat disappointed!

Knowledge, Service, Presentation and Interaction – here lie a distinct possibility to do far better than what a website can offer, hereby really stand out store wise – offering consumer appreciated competitive advantage compared to overall competition.

The “much more” – well you, as a retailer know something about this already. But because of the workload in the day to day operations you frequently tent to forget, your responsibility in development! Taking into consideration that this part has to be revisited daily or weekly – most stores simply fail to comply – and after a couple of years perform poorly at best.

Admitting to the fact that price is always an issue, even for the best in class that I briefly will present. None of the below mentioned have surrendered to just being discount bookstore – because they don’t have to!

All below asked themselves – Am I special? Can I offer anything that the next in line can’t? Do traffic experience the difference that I’m trying to make, or is that just something I think is obvious?

How often, do you ask yourself these questions?

These stores – all except one, make larger changes regularly (at least 3-4 times a year). They proudly present a simple strategy – that talk about focussing on taking business to the next level. Strategy is then based on tools such as conversion rate, basket size, basket content and track and trace results. They all managed to have very positive revenue streams – even in troubled times!

Photo wise I have been focussing on presentation. Remember that these stores earn good money – based on the belief that by building special, you ARE!

If you want further information on the individual bookstore strategy and shopper behaviour take aways – don’t hesitate to revert to me!

MY personal Awards 2009 Retailwise

•Best in class (fnac 2009)

•Distinctiveness (Shakespeare & Co)

Shakespeare & Company
37 rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris

•Business (Academic Bookstore )

The Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen Kirjakauppa) in the center of Helsinki is built by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto

•Wow factor (Lello)

Rua das Carmelitas 144, Porto 4050 – Portugal

•Traffic (Borders)

•Conversion of traffic (192 bookstore)

•Time spend (Lello)

•Third world (Calcutta roadstop)

•Interaction (Le Bal des Ardents )

•Basket size (Noels & Barnes)

No photo!

•Design (Le Bal des Ardents )

•Oldest (San Francisco bookstore)

With presentation come conduct and service – conduct and service fitted to presentation. The above mentioned has not in any way left any detail untouched.

But what about business figures – and other important figures! I’ll let the average figures talk for them self!

Trafic conversion rate (+29%)

Trafic (+49%)

Revenue (+19%)

Basket size (+47%)

Stockturn (+21%)

There are many stories/stores like this spread around the world – but for each good story there is a 1000 or more stories sadly pointing in the opposite direction – they simply don’t get it! They still think that the old way is the right way – you can tell, that they never read BlueOcean strategy!

Remember also – most of these bookstores have all the cheap extras, fancy coffee shops and alike they do great in terms of traditional core business.

This research has been conducted over the last 2 years

My pictures have not always been the best, so some has been borrowed from friends and likeminded, that like myself share a common interest for shopper psychology, in-store presentation and offer.

But believe me when I say – that the photos are nothing in compares to the original stores.

For Retailwise

Brian Engblad

Why is it, that so many companies tend to focus and copy competition, rather than create and establish own unique product portfolio and company uniqueness… since when did distinctiveness grow out of fashion?

All leaders wish to find and deploy motivated people. Still, many managers can’t understand why the employees “don’t think themselves”. They simply forgot that motivation is easily drained, due to lack of- or simply poor management. So to have motivated people, offer them the ability to motivate themselves by motivating and encouraging them, by being more of a role model yourself, and less manager, because that’s not needed – quite the contrary! Remember motivation easily finds its way to the financial figures, but doing better is not just about money but about solid and genuine motivation! – Yes, this is common sense, so how come all managers forget? C)

While the worldwide recession seemingly and hopefully is short lived and perhaps to some extent overrated, 2008 – 2009 business figures and business conduct will give many a business researcher frills diving into over many years to come. They will write books about how distinct companies from one day to the next lost big, never to gain ground again. How large corporations go beaten by small companies.

How small business’ with solid and sound economic competence nearly was forced to close, because of all the customers (larger corporations) over night changed willingness to pay on time – in fact they claimed the right to change terms of payment and hereby send incredibility and lots business ethics in the direction of smaller enterprises! By fact they made it quite clear to millions of suppliers that it was more important to decrease bank interests than paying any small enterprise for their good and solid work delivered on time.

For what reason? Trying to keep the vessel going for yet another quarter?

No doubt, a massive wave of books will strike a beach near you pretty soon. Leaders will stand forward pointing in directions upper sit themselves arguing about neglect and even worse. Massive quantities of frightening stories will eventually surface and rapidly be converted and channelled through the established business education system – because what have happened has certainly catered a lot of business disasters.

Over the last 10 months I have had the privilege in joined talks and a series of interviews with some 82 CEO’s and Managing directors in the Nordic Countries. Focussing on the overall situation, finance issues, steering though trouble waters, about focus, downscaling and ability to get the most out of the situation.

I have summoned my experience in this somewhat bizarre imperative narrative:

Imagine a large containership in open sea travelling fully loaded – course is set. Same routine- and pretty much, same destinations year in and year out.

One day suddenly – although al perditions pointed in this direction – the climate changed dramatically! The wind was stronger than ever hence massive white horses walled up around the carrier. No visibility nor a easy way out – subsequently a certain level of anxiety arises. Not as you might have expected on staff level, for them this was more or less business as usual – but on senior management level the story was another. Schooled in crisis management, the captain reports to the board about a change in ability to perform according to expectations – and due to conditions he will have to report more frequently so that a negative result can be diminished.

Fast-forward – well aware that the carrier is way off course and long awaited on destination, the captain decides (from time to time together with a passive board) not as expected to seek the nearest harbour and re-scope – but to leave the vessel drifting in mammoth sea whilst the captain seeks cover under the first desk available, begging for a rapid change in conditions.

This version might sound harsh and to some even idiotic – and yes you are right! Nevertheless a fact!

A picture of an egocentric CEO or managing director not stepping up to the commission arise. Some might be of the opinion that they could not do different – but I say wrong!

Yes, you tried to diminish and downscale not one but several times, just to spread fear in your organisation – all in all reactive actions. But in terms of proactive action all the companies stood submissive – ask yourself – did you strive to plan what actions and business changes you had to make to stand prepared past recession. The few who did, is right now in a blue ocean situation grabbing market share very easy and inexpensively.

This will leave companies in dire strait perhaps forever! With a massive block of companies lead by paralysed an ineffective top management not able to act accordingly.

You could argue that the disruption is diminished and far less destructive because so many “captains” choose to stay paralyzed and more troubled by their own future, that the one of the company.

These captains will by force now leave the secure chambers, acting nervously and too traditional to get the motivation going and business drive onto new tracks – leaving the business in even darker red ocean, because they never got around to build on blue ocean opportunity that raises during any crisis.

This problem will really surface when some of the upcoming book titles, key note speeches and seminars tells happy stories about the companies and CEO’s that have acted actively right through the crises, exploring new methods and business angles to protect motivation and drive come end of this crisis.

Taking this into consideration combined with the financial state that countless companies experience, the board of directors is left with no other choice than take action to complete considerable changes on top management level. Hoping to cover new ground and gain some lost.

I for one welcome new creative leaders with a new perspective and a honest dedication – eager to show to the world of management that no business should be run like usual or like we learned in business school. It’s time to make changes! It’s is time to put new management into the drivers seat!


November 09