A train isn’t designed for a paddock

Trains are great – on tracks.

ATVs are great – in paddocks.

But a train cannot cross a paddock – unless you lay down tracks.

I am not so much talking about ‘horses for courses’ but rather about ‘fit for purpose’. (Sorry Brian, had to use the ‘f’ word J)

What have YOU (and your business) been DESIGNED to do? If you think ‘ATV’ but you are actually a train, you have a lifetime of unhappiness in front of you.

  • A traditional (bricks-and-mortar) retail business is not an internet business
  • A shopping centre landlord is not a bank
  • A newsagent is not a convenience store


It does not mean that a retail business can’t become an internet business or that a newsagent can’t become a convenience store.

The point I make here is that these things are different things. They are designed differently. They work differently. They have different business models with different key indicators and success factors and process. Everything that matters is different.

The journey from one to the other is fraught with danger, but not impossible.

Like all journeys you have to have an idea of where you want to go and then figure out how you are going to get there. You may have to deal with a few ‘Griswold’ moments on that journey, but that too can be anticipated or just dealt with when they happen.

This may seem unsurprisingly obvious, but embarking on a journey means leaving the place you are at now.

The key to making the journey a success is ‘letting go of your safe haven’. That means accepting that the destination is a different place and that you cannot continue to hang on to the habits, the process and the practices of the past.

Letting go of your many years’ received wisdom and experience – all the things that made you successful in your existing business is the biggest obstacle to achieving success in your new venture.

What makes you a good landlord won’t make you a good banker. What makes you a good newsagent won’t make you a good convenience store. 

I am not referring to things like ‘hard work’ or ‘good service’ and the like; I am referring to the practices and processes – the business model, your retail proposition and its success factors.

In order to embark on that journey, you must design a different vehicle. )That is the dreaded D word.)

Having the most modern, fastest bullet train is not going to help you cross a paddock unless you have laid down some tracks. Right?

Have fun.

PS: For more on business models go here for a framework and here for a warning.

Dennis Price

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