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

newsagency management

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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