Looking back, it was difficult to look forward in 2020.

Many perspectives, variables, influences and government-funded initiativesmade focus challenging and complex. Control, while not ceded, was compromised.Stability was beyond reach.

Budgeting, forecasting and prudent resource allocation, were vexing.

Therefore, in most instances outcomes were most likely, at best, optimised(given the variable and varying external forces), rather than maximised.


In the broader economy, multiple players were active seeking to stimulateinterest, recognition, visitations and demand.

Some campaigns were creative. A few were innovative and original.

In many instances the messages were changed, expectations elevated andaccelerated. Regrettably, the products and services, typically localcommunities and precincts, were static. Same ol’, same ol’.

Profound disappointment, compounded by fragmented, truncated trading hours,limited stock availability and inadequate – often indifferent – service.Collectively, not good experiences.

It is one thing to make a promise. Quite another is delivering promises, withthe inherent customer advantages, benefits and rewards.

Help was at hand, in the form of countless “experts”, many extolling virtuesand skills in small business.

One lesson learnt by business owners is that a significant gap lies betweenimproving internal efficiencies, financial survival and enhancedeffectiveness.

Rudimentary customer service training for young experienced front-line serviceproviders is laudable, possibly required, but well short of beingstrategically competitive and advantageous.

A common lesson which evolved was that the increase in the number of not-for-profit consultancies was directly commensurate with the number of unemployedand underemployed people, pools of funds within Federal, state and localgovernment coffers.


Contemplating the relatively rapid and widespread economic recovery beingenjoyed by many sectors in diverse locations throughout Australia, it isapparent that business owners are enjoying, profiting and banking the fruitsof their good fortunes. No questions asked.

Very few are critically analysing, formulating, documenting and implementingcontingency plans for any downturns during 2021, and in the immediate future.

The implementation phase can readily be partially or tentatively introduced.It can equally be suspended, or held back in reserve to marshal resources (andtherefore, maintain control).


Perfect vision, 2020, is typically most valued in hindsight.

Microscopic focus can, and should, highlight details, which elicit immediateand positive responses.

It is prudent to embrace contrarian-thinking, to address possiblecountervailing forces.

The intent is not accuracy. Rather, malleability, scope for timelyresponsiveness and self-belief (founded on self-confidence) are the marks andmeasures of a well prepared business leader and entrepreneur.

To some it will herald visionary. For others, discipline, structure, and themanagement of risk.

So, in 2021 don’t lose sight of the future. Avoid being lost on spuriousvisions. Focus on now, how and even, wow.

Barry Urquhart
Business Strategist
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: [email protected]
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au

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