Small Business

Rudd: genius or dud?

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Kevin Rudd faces his ultimate test next week and what he comes up with will determine if what he has concocted in the past few months was worth it for him and the country.

In fact, this great political innovator ultimately could create a great lesson for the country’s struggling businesses in the slow lane of the economy or could prove himself to be a complete dud.

Like him or loathe him, Kevin Rudd’s pitch for the 2007 election was small business brilliance. He commissioned the Kevin07 website, recruited smart young Gen Ys to tap into the burgeoning digital world of marketing and communication and since then has created an army of twitterers

But it was not all new media stuff. He pioneered using morning TV to build his brand to show what a ‘great guy’ he was and he even had Kevin07 t-shirts which normal people were happy to wear to market a politician!

This is such a powerful example for so many small business operators who are worried about consumers who are becoming committed savers, online purchasers and prolific overseas tourists, which is frustrating so many local businesses.

Making matters worse, high interest rates and a dollar on steroids screams out the warning that business has to innovate or perish. And it comes as Prime Minister Julia Gillard is correctly crying out for more productivity, though her critics ponder what government is doing to encourage it.

By the way, I know the government actually has some policies to encourage small business but I have an innovation they could think about. Collate all of them together into a press release and send it to people like me – who knows small business people might hear about them, use them and some productivity might result.

That’s a free bit of advice for the new Small Business Minister Mark Arbib but he could be distracted this weekend as Labor pollies prepare for the spill in Canberra on Monday.

I recently came across an innovation from Woolworths in South Africa, which is no relation to the local operation. Recognising the wealth improvements of the non-white population, they realised they had to change their product offerings.

This is a classic example of a business thinking outside of the square and realising that they had to outcompete their rivals by seeing something earlier and then investing in success.

Their competitive thinking involved enlisting one of our country’s best designers, Vince Frost of Frost Design. You can see their thinking was even outside the country as they looked for fresh, non-South African eyes.

The Frost gig was to create branding for Woolworth’s offerings that would appeal to this growing market and to establish a design studio within the company that could carry on the new design themes.

In challenging and changing times, business leaders cannot afford to be entrenched in old thinking. Every input into your output – and this applies to businesses as it does to employees or even politicians who really want to win – has to be innovative, market-relevant and filled with the energy of a winner.

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Monday, February 27, 2012

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