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

Getting rid of a spinner in a shopping centre is a reminder to look at things differently

IMG_0263Westfield, bless their heart, has removed the ability for us to discard old spinners in the rubbish / recycling area of the large shopping centre in another cost cutting move taking away serves previously available to tenants. Rant over.

At the weekend we found ourselves with a spinner we no longer needed and so placed it at the front of the shop with a Free to a good home sign. Sure enough, our trash became another person’s treasure in quick time

Problem solved.

It is easy to get side-tracked by obstacles that change what we can or can’t do in our businesses. There can be a comfort drawn from being angry about something we think is not your fault or outside our control to address.

More often than not in these situations of anger and frustration there are solutions if we look at the situation confronting us differently.

I have been talking with many different small business retailers over the last few weeks at workshops about social media and e-commerce and at these sessions I have talked with small business owners who only see barriers. They see them as that, a barrier. The alternative is to see the opportunity, the road over, under, around or through. Yes, I appreciate that may sound easier said than down. However, every barrier has an alternative.

I am guilty of this. The Westfield policy change re spinners being dumped happened months ago. It frustrated are and still frustrates me. However, trying this alternative has eliminated it as an issue – unless I prefer to be drawn to remaining frustrated at Westfield. But there is no sense in that, no business value from that.

If only I had thought of a lateral solution when Westfield changed their policy.

I was talking with a small business retailer yesterday about a challenge in their business that had them stopped in their tracks. Every suggestion would not work for one reason or another. many suggestions were put. Every one of the rejected. It was like they did not want the issue to be addressed, like they preferred to have the challenge remain in front of them. It was like the challenge put them in a place of comfort.

It is hard work to think through, around or over a problem. You have to choose to think this way, to think beyond the problem. It is important your happy place is with the challenge or problem gone. Otherwise you get into an unhealthy mental health funk that can be personally harmful and harmful for the business and everyone served by the business.

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  1. Chris

    Absolutely, this industry has taught me exactly that. It keeps changing (some say to our detriment) but that’s life. No use moaning about it, just work out how it can turn into a positive.
    I remind myself everyday how lucky I am, I work for myself in a job and community I love without the concerns of war or famine.

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  2. Hamish

    Cleaning out the shed and listed a heap of ex display items on Gumtree rather than take them to the tip. Literally just sold three spinners to a lady who sells various items at the local markets for $100. Everybody happy.
    Talking to her she was adamant that she has been looking for something to display her stock on for ages and just couldn’t find anything.
    I cant turn water into wine although I can turn spinners into shiraz!!

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  3. Steve

    Now you’ve got me questioning the 2 trailer loads of old shopfittings I took to the local tip last month. 4 spinners, 2 card fixtures plus assorted crap. Sounds like I should have just parked them on the footpath with a for sale sign. Money making opportunity gone begging?

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  4. h

    Steve, google “Gumtree”. Amazing what one can buy – and sell.
    Our topped newspapers are all going to a local wildlife rescue shelter at the moment, and a few to gardeners. Magazines we have to pay to be taken away, but I know they end up 3 km away at a newsprint mill, so are recycled. Local Men’s Shed will use all kinds of interesting things for re-purposing.
    We give away packing materials, cardboard boxes – a little sign in the shop can work even weeks later someone will come in and say they were told we had a stand or whatever. But this works best in a community, not so well in a shoppingworld complex.

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