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The Conditions Are Always Perfect.

Chris Savage from STW Group wrote a blog recently quoting ‘Ironman’ Trevor Hendy. A fantastic quote that is perfect for the times we live in – the reason Savage used it. The quote seems at first glib yet becomes incredibly profound upon deliberation. Hendy, when asked about the challenge of competing, simply said – “The conditions are always perfect.”

What he meant was that the conditions are the same for everybody in the competition. No competitor can change what he or she has no control over. So the ones that take a negative approach and allow environmental or tangential issues to distract them will inevitably disadvantage themselves both consciously and unconsciously.

“The conditions are always perfect.” Taken to heart, it means that the focus is solely on doing your best to win. If all competitors face the same conditions – and they do – the difference comes back to the competitor beating his or her opponents by exploiting their skill, capability and energy.

In the current environment many retail competitors are allowing external dialogue from the media, politicians, economists and even some amongst their own ranks to affect their views of the current ‘conditions’ in an extremely pessimistic way. As a result the actions they are taking are not the ones that will help them to win.

“The conditions are always perfect.” In Australia – forget the rest of the world – we currently enjoy nearly seven per cent household income growth and nearly seven per cent household expenditure growth. We have relatively full employment. Retail growth (the aggregate dollars of physical and virtual retail sales combined) is running at the fifty-year average growth rate. The principal issue we all face in retail today is deflating prices and margins and the paradigm shift in distribution created by technology.

It is a natural human condition to become immersed in your own circumstances. But the truth is all your competitors are facing the same conditions. The winners will be those that use their skills the best in the conditions we all face to prosper.

Examine your business and understand where you have strengths. As a sportsman like Hendy will tell you, you win by playing to your strengths not by trying to minimize your weaknesses. A negative frame of mind makes you focus on your weaknesses and all that does is pull you down further.

Every retail business more than five years old has something that breathed life into it and gave it forward momentum. Pinpoint it. Perfect it. Push it hard. Combined with the modifications necessary after you have made an unemotional assessment of the current ‘conditions’, exploiting the true strengths of your business will give you the best chance of beating your competitors. Competitors who are all facing the same ‘conditions’ as you. “The conditions are always perfect.” Thank you Trevor Hendy and Chris Savage for reminding us.