A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

The 10,000th blog post

While I’m not a big milestone person I couldn’t let this 10,000th blog post pass without comment.

What started on January 27, 2005 with a tentative first post has evolved considerably over seven years, 10,000 blog posts and 27,180 comments.

I didn’t really have a plan when I started the blog other than to write occasionally about life in my newsagency.  Within the first few months that changed as I realised I could use the blog to write about issues beyond my own business,  issues affecting the newsagency channel more widely.

I have learnt plenty along the way – from the practical of writing for public consumption to learning to be more accepting of alternative views to mine.

I think that my voice has changed as a result of blogging. I think that my other writing, away from this place, has improved.

I am proud of the blog being a record of some of the challenges (and opportunities embedded in these challenges) faced by newsagents, those who work in our businesses and those who work with our businesses.

I am pleased to have been able to use the blog to document appalling treatment by some of newsagents.

For what it’s worth, I think the most important issues I have written about are:

  1. Australia Post and the economic harm the government owned post offices continue to wreak against newsagents. Both sides of politics are to blame for this.
  2. The failure of successive governments, the ACCC and suppliers to be fair in their treatment of newsagents through deregulation. Today’s print media distribution model disadvantages newsagents while giving commercial advantages to our competitors.
  3. The failure of magazine distributors to provide a model which is fair. They hold us accountable for the financial liability yet do not provide reasonable business levers with which to manage that liability.
  4. The disruption of print media and the impact this will have on the traditional newsagency business model … and the opportunity for financially rewarding change.
  5. The failure of many newsagents to manage their businesses for day to day profit. Too many newsagents expect their pay day when they sell and do not realise that their pay day is today, tomorrow and next week … and that this determines what they will receive when they sell.
  6. The failure of the leadership of the newsagency channel: in 1999 to lead through deregulation; and,  in the mid 2000s to put the needs of newsagents ahead of their own ego and interests.
  7. The day to day … sometimes mundane stuff about hiring and firing people, customer theft, employee theft, how we did things, why we did things.  These narrow focus topics often led to some wonderful comments which added tremendous value to what I wrote.

I smile when a supplier contacts me saying that they rarely read the blog but have been told about a post relating to them … yeah. I know that posts and comments are being noticed when people complain about the blog or me in an ill-informed or derogatory manner.

This is a place of conversation. Everyone is welcome to join in. If I am wrong, tell me.  If you want to apologise, do so.

In terms of actual achievements, that is for others to judge.

We go into 2012 with some good progress having been made in 2011.   Morrison Media, Universal Magazines, Express Media Group (EMG) and Pacific Magazines are closer to newsagents in part as a result of engagement here, showing that publishers follow posts and comments and respond in pursuit of a more valuable relationship.

I don’t have a plan for the future of the blog, never have. I’ll write about that which I want to write about … to reflect the newsagency narrative and to help and represent newsagents.

I care passionately about the channel and its place in Australian society. What we have is unique, important and valuable. It is also vulnerable. We all in this channel need to work hard to combat our vulnerabilities and to play to our strengths.

To the visitors, 1,100+ every day, and to the commenters, responsible for 27,000+ published comments, thank you for being part of this thing.

Let the blogging continue…

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  1. CAMERON

    Champion effort Mark! The frequency of posts, sharing of ideas and overall diversity are greatly appreciated. Congratulations and thank you.

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  2. Steve Denham

    Congratulations Mark, you have created a remarkable database of retailing ideas open to anyone who cares to find you.

    Steve

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  3. Rowan

    Well done Mark. Your blog is included in a few I read most mornings. It is informative and passionate highlighting not only your own thoughts, but those of many others through the comments. Keep it up!

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  4. Glenn

    Yes well done Mark. This blog is compulsory reading for me

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  5. Paul

    Thanks for running this blog Mark.

    It has certainly made a big difference to me as its helped guide me when I was looking at buying a newsagancy and now nearly two years into ownership still provides me with information that allows me to make my business more profitable and efficient.

    Thank you also to the various contributors who have also had a part in all of this.

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  6. Megan

    A remarkable achievement Mark. Congratulations. Although you didn’t start out with a clear picture of how the blog and its influence would develop over time, you were, nevertheless, willing to begin and persevere. It’s become a very significant contribution to the industry and part of your legacy.

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  7. Dennis

    Congratulations. (Any blogger would know how big that really is.) It may also be ironic that success (in business/ in a newsagency) is actually demonstrated by the blog – it does not matter whether anyone agrees.disagrees with the content, but they should follow the recipe.)
    – Be different
    – Be single-minded about it
    – Repeat

    Good luck with the next 10,000.

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  8. Allan Wickham

    Congrats Mark,
    Not much i can add to the above contents but thank you very much for the blog. I have learnt so much from reading this on a daily basis and look forward to what gets discussed next. The beauty of the blog is the varied opinions, agree or disagree that is the secret to this site.

    Cheers
    Al

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  9. Brendan

    Congrats on running such a great forum for the exchange of different ideas and attitudes. I am sure that we have all gained from your blogs and the opportunity to participate and learn from each other.

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  10. Wally

    Good onya Mark. yes it is informative as well as controversial and provides the opportunity to vent one’s spleen. Agree or disagree it matters not it is opinion shared.

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  11. Wendy

    Well done Mark! Thanks to you and all of the commenters (even the ever-amusing trolls) for making this a great community space.

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  12. Mark

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Comments are an important part of this blog, they can add tremendous value.

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  13. Tracey

    Mark, simply put we thank you for your efforts. It is a tremendous resource for us. Thank you again.

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  14. Derek

    Mark

    Its worth a lot. I have learn’t alot. I think you have contributed muchly across the Newsagency channel helping in many ways. Highlighting the good & bad, only for the betterment for small business owners, Publishers & Distrubtors. I appreciate this place. Thanks

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  15. AVERILL

    ALL THE COMMENTS FROM EVERYONE AND MORE, THE BLOG HAS BEEN A GREAT HELP FOR US AND APPRECIATE IT HEAPS
    THANKS MARK

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  16. Alf Santomingo

    Congratulations on hitting a massive milestone Mark!

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  17. Samuel

    Such a big achievement, Mark. To me, your blog not only provides an excellent forum for the newsagency industry, but also a meaningful learning place for general retail industry. I sold my newsagency business last year and lost some money comparing to my purchase price a few years ago. It’s a life lesson for me in this industry. Wish everyone well.

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  18. Narelle

    Great achievement Mark, congratulations!

    Many thanks for sharing your tips and advice – my daily required reading and this reader is very grateful!

    Your energy, passion & enthusiasm for the newsagency channel is admired and respected.

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  19. Y&G

    A milestone indeed.
    Regardless of whether we agree on everything or not, it is a great resource and support for small business owners who have to deal with the cultures we do.

    To another 10,000 😀

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  20. Tracey-Ann Chin

    Congratulations Mark. Your blog is part of my daily routine. Your advice, information and views have been so valuable to me. Thank you

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  21. Baz

    Congratulations and Thanks also Mark

    Baz and heather
    Albury

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  22. Pingback: The pay day

  23. Paul Wallbank

    Congratulations Mark.

    The points you highlighted made me think about where business in general is going, particularly with point five. So here’s my post.

    http://paulwallbank.com/2012/01/10/the-pay-day/

    Keep up the thought provoking work.

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  24. Terry Thelwell

    Just back from leave and one of my first tasks is to catch up on the blog.
    From a publishers point it’s always useful to follow all the industy debates from all sides.
    Keeep up the great work

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