Monday 26 February 2018

The 5 Stages Of Grief At QVM

One thing for sure is that there is a lot of sentiment out there at the moment.
And given the really poor current trading that's going on for many that understandably leads to finger pointing, anger and venting.

To Traders the unshakeable reality is that Management have always been almost totally disconnected with the day to day reality of the trading floor (that was seen as a 'Trader issue'). When the going was good that suited most Traders perfectly. Now that trading is in truly dire straits and most attempts to make adjustments and improve sales by many if not most traders either simply doesn’t work or produces negligible results, only a few Traders continue to hold to that view.

Like many issues at the market this is a multifaceted and complex issue, this one goes to the core issue of defining the specific role of management and the role of traders and how those roles are linked and measured by the retail performance of the Market.
Let's start off by saying that there is no question in most Traders minds that Traders must accept responsibility for their businesses, and before looking at others need to ensure that they have done everything they reasonably can to address any downturns and challenges.

But, and this is a big but, most Traders don’t think it's incorrect to state that Management has not wanted to acknowledge any real share or role in the retail aspect of the Market, evidenced by its unwillingness or reluctance to capture, record and analyse accurate footfall, receiving sales data, having a professionally run and structured trader ‘recruitment’ team., running anything like a serious business incubation program etc. etc. etc.

Until very recently Management role has been essentially one of 'property management' as opposed to any serious attempt at Retail Market Management. That is, to collect the rents, keep the place in order, make sure the Pty Ltd company runs profitably and don’t concern yourselves with too much else with any serious intent ( interestingly this same issue and tendency has been identified in the UK and their publicly owned and run markets ). Fundamentally whilst the retail world around us was changing, generally Markets failed to react, or changed minimally. Now with the frantic changes constantly challenging even the larger and most robust retail organisations it's no wonder that our Trader run tiny independent businesses just can't meet the challenges and as a result are now going through the 5 stages of grief as we see our businesses wither and die right before our eyes ( I would say we’re currently locked in at the ‘anger’ stage, which is very common for anyone who perceives themselves as being a victim).

As mentioned above, when times were good Traders in general where more than happy with that ‘hands off’ approach, and indeed those of us who still see our businesses as healthy and vigorous continue to insist that this is the 'right' role of management. But for most traders, now that times are dire and the future bleak, with sales dwindling or dying, we are shaken from our initial stage of denial and anger well and truly takes hold.

The reality however is that as with most situations the responsibility needs to be borne by all participating parties and the solutions worked through together by all said parties.

And I suppose a significant contributor to the frustration and current negative sentiment of Traders is that the responsibility of turning around a business downturn has always almost exclusively been seen as the sole responsibility of Traders. The fact is that the challenges introduced by the 'new' globalised retail world and changing customer expectations were always going to be too complex and confounding for our small, fragile businesses to deal with alone.

Unfortunately the ‘Renewal’ process has not assisted any shift of intent and purpose on the part of Management, as was evidenced in the leaked email in the Herald Sun where at least from early 2012 the Pty Ltd that runs the Market needed to ensure that it limited its exposure and risk brought on it by a third party and largely outside their control and management.

By Ivano Guseli

Have Your Say - click here.
26/02/2018 13:42:23      Ivano article             "Ivano what you say is correct. As stall holders we are responsible
 For our product etc however if you are trying to sell and promote a product in an area that is crumbling in infrastructure...... empty space, dirty, lack of toilets, birds pooping, signs broken, poles with signage bent and in j shedthe mess left from grease and lack of general cleaning on the slats what would you think if you were a customer? These are issues any good management would have taken care of they are basic. We pay rent and I do believe we are not getting a fair share in return. I as a trader feel let down,I am prepared to do my share please reply ."

Keeping the market clean and in good state is an essential part of good housekeeping and it should not even need any discussion, it should simply be done.
In my years as a Traders Rep I found that the day to day operational concerns such as you mention were best handled ( and resolved* ) separately so as not to dominate Trader/Management discussions and thus risk not focussing the discussion around the much more critical existential threat and challenges Public Retail Markets like ours are facing. It is essential that we don't get distracted by day to day irritations to the point that we don't see and discuss the bigger picture, because if we don't find a solution to the current continuing decline the reality is the only thing remaining at the market may be the "empty space, dirt… bird poop" etc.

*P.S. If you want to know more about how the issues you mentioned were resolved feel free to come and speak to me. - Ivano