Pet Gazette March 2019 - Page 26

26 | PET GAZETTE | BUSINESS ADVICE ON A ROUGH VOYAGE, WATCH THE HORIZON Carl Benfield spent 16 years as a British Army Officer and 11 years in commerce. He now runs Refresh Business, a consultancy specialising in strategic direction. In this first of three articles, he examines the importance of goal setting in the pet care trade THE STORM If you’re a pictures person like me, you’ll know the value in “seeing” the situation from Whilst the UK pet supplies market is one of a different perspective, so in this article, I’m the largest in Europe, with amazing growth going to use seafaring as a metaphor for in the last twenty years, the last the last four running a business in uncertain times. If you’re years have seen some stagnation, meaning a landlubber at heart, don’t worry, I’ll promise competition is becoming increasingly fierce. As not to make you seasick! the demographic of pet owners changes and And as a side note, if things are running new technology offers multiple ways of buying, sweetly for you now, remember that a good it is not only the market, but the supply chain sailor will tell you that you should use any that is experiencing rapid change. Overlay the period of calm to check, and then re-check uncertainties caused by Brexit (sorry, I had to everything so that when a storm does come mention it!), and it becomes challenging, very quickly. So how do you take all this into account (and it will), you’re ready without needing to panic. So, step number one - check the and still develop something that passes weather (market). muster a business plan? Whilst a fast moving market can favour the agile entrepreneur of the start-up (at least in the short term), how can THE BOAT more established companies ensure that they Before you know where you are going, you have a sustainable model that will adapt with have to know where you are, and in our the times? metaphor, that means what kind of boat we are in. Are you part of a large group, a family company, a sole trader or what? It seems obvious, but properly understanding your position will affect how realistic your goal can be - a local family-run company is unlikely to double its turnover within a few years without acquiring other businesses. There is a decades-old process that derives from analysis of the American Air Force in Korea. The Americans could not understand why the inferior enemy aircraft could perform so well against superior US planes. The breakthrough in thinking defined the OODA loop - Observe Orientate, Decide and Act and the first part of this -”observe” was vital. The enemy planes had a bigger cockpit canopy that allowed the pilot to see much more around him, thus they were able to orientate more quickly… and so on (for the spotters out there, this is one reason why modern jet March 2019