Every economic cycle has businesses that don’t survive. Lately, though it feels like some businesses that have always been around the place are reaching the end of their life cycle and shutting up shop.

Tackle World Toowoomba is a recent example of a great local business that has decided to call it a day. It is a business that has been around the place for donkey’s years but for whatever reason has decided to close down rather than go through the challenging ordeal of selling or renovating.

Wayne Gordon of Tackle World Toowoomba is very open on why he is shutting up shop, “the introduction and consumer acceptance of online shopping is proving to be a real challenge for the more traditional shop-front retail outlet” he says.

“As we look back on our time as the owners of Tackle World Toowoomba we will reflect positively on the valued customers and business community we dealt with.”

“We enjoyed dealing with the challenges business can present but if we are honest with ourselves, we will not miss the many hats you wear in small business and the pressures it places on family life.”

“There are undoubtedly things we could have done better but we are proud to say we ‘gave it a crack’ now knowing being business owners is not for us.”

Wayne makes some great points. The realities of business [especially in retail] that come out of Wayne’s story in my view include:

online trading has changed retail forever

In my view I am not sure retail will ever be the same again. Retail, in particular, is having to work harder than ever to stand out in the market. Hybrid models blending online with bricks and mortar shopfronts look like they can work but competition is strong.

everyone wants a bargain

It seems like retail stores like Myer are forever having sales. The fast paced world we live in is fickle. Retailers need to constantly be coming up with new ways to bring customers through the door [or online]. Marketing your brand is key but your promotions strategy is critical.

many hats of small business

Small business owners wear many hats. From marketing to HR, from operations to finance, the hat rack is full. In the lonely world of business, it can be soul-destroying to feel that you are not on top of things and often this flows into your personal life, or as I often say, ‘your business can lose its mojo’.

not everyone is meant to be a business owner

Sometimes people go into business only to realise it is not for them. The important thing though is to realise and do something about it. So many busy owners end up ‘sucking it up’ without solving the root cause of the problem and ultimately the problem [especially financially] can become much much worse.

you always have options

So often people are blinkered in their view as to the options available to them. Wayne has elected to close down in a controlled way to optimise the value he receives on exit and minimise the time it takes to get out. Selling a business is hard and you often have many false starts. It is not the first time I have seen the best and easiest option to be having a clearing sale and simply close the doors on your terms.

Are you in bricks and mortar retail? If so, it is critical to know your unique selling proposition [USP] – know why people deal with you. You then need to give them a reason to come into the store or connect with you online.

There are no silver bullets in business; it is a never-ending cycle of attracting the right customers and then keeping them interested.

The good news is, if you are feeling stuck in a rut, you are not alone and you can do something about.