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You can’t be everything to everyone – What decorators can learn from the fall of Debenhams


Something I talk about a lot in business is that you can’t be everything to everyone.

Nor should you try!

The reason I bring this up now is due to the recent fall of Debenhams.

People will say they failed because the high street is dying, and they didn’t adapt to the online world fast enough.

These are certainly contributing factors.

But for me, the biggest reason they failed is because they (and department stores in general) try to be everything to everyone.

And because of this, they end up not appealing to anyone.

Discount stores like Primark have thrived in recent years without an online presence.

Luxury brands have also been doing well. So, you can’t say people don’t have money to spend.

You see, specialist stores pull people in.

They don’t appeal to everyone, but the people they do appeal to will spend money with them regardless of whether they can buy online or whether they must go to the high street.

Debenhams was just a bit ‘meh’ …a bit dull.

Nobody was saying ‘oh I must go to Debenhams to get such and such…’

But people do say…’I must to go to Primark to pick up some cheap t-shirts’

And they do say ‘I must have those Gucci sliders!’

Specialising is the way the world is going, and this is true for every business. Including painters and decorators.

If you want to secure your business and make more money, then reducing the number of services you offer is now better than growing them.

The same goes for the type of customers you deal with.

Focus on a certain type of customer. Don’t try and work for anyone who comes along.

Work out what you want to do and who you want to do it for.

Then build your business around that.

Don’t become the next Debenhams, Woolworths, BHS, Littlewoods, C&A….you see the pattern?

For more information on the benefits of specialising, check out the podcast I recorded with Pete Wilkinson here: https://anchor.fm/jon-mears8/episodes/110—Should-decorators-specialise-evknc3


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