The 99%

When I left university I joined the British retailing institution that is Marks and Spencer, and of the many things that I learned about business, the most precious of all was that you set your business up for the 99% not the other 1%.

I know you are thinking what the hell is this guy talking about? So I will explain. Back in those heady days of the mid ’80s I queried why we were merchandising some of the most expensive product that was prone to shop lifting right next to the doorway. The answer was simple, 99% of our customers don’t steal, so make it easy for them to buy what they want, and don’t ever lose sight of this, setting yourself up for the 1% you will be destined  to fail. This lesson is beautifully illustrated in a great book “Sway: The irresistible pull of irrational behaviour” by Ori & Rom Brafman, the book draws on research from social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior and reveals forces that influence every aspect of our personal and business lives, including loss aversion and in particular our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses.

This is perhaps the reason that increasing numbers of oil companies via their service stations, make you pre pay for your fuel. Its dumb, it plays to the 1%, it at best irritates us and at worst drives us to an alternative.

When you reflect upon this phenomena, and look at your own organisation, are you set up for the 99% or the other 1%? Are you too afraid to lose, to win?

About Paul Coles

HELPING BUSINESS OWNERS AND SHAREHOLDERS MAXIMISE THEIR BUSINESS VALUE FOR EXIT MyAdvisor is a specialist firm of advisors who maximise business value for shareholders of privately owned mid-sized New Zealand firms. Originally our core offer was to provide client companies with growth strategies and advisory services, including services to assist in merger and acquisition activity. As time has passed many of our clients are now working with our team to transition out, through effective succession options, or to exit their companies successfully through a strategic sale. For many of our client companies, maximising shareholder value is now the most critical priority in their business I have close to 30 years experience in various commercial and general management roles in both New Zealand and Europe. These span large, blue chip corporates, through to start ups and an English Premier League Football Team. I have also owned several of my own successful businesses during this time. I have been fortunate to lead some great teams, numbering in their hundreds on occasions.
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12 Responses to The 99%

  1. dongrgic says:

    Great article Paul. Thanks fo the insight.

  2. bluebanana20 says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Banana and commented:
    Have you ever experienced service set up for the 1%?

  3. Abby Huizing says:

    Great article! To always think positively and not react in fear, takes effort. To “turn the other cheek” can literally give you a bigger view in life, by allowing another perspective.

  4. Tim Rueb says:

    Reblogged this on ROI HUNTERS Field Journal and commented:
    The Pareto Rule is an awesome tool and can be used in many situations. Here Paul Coles shares his insights with how companies focus on the wrong side of the equation at times.

  5. Tim Rueb says:

    Reblogged on ROI Hunters as well. Good Post.

    • Paul Coles says:

      Hi Tim, thanks for sharing the blog post. It is tough to avoid this on occasions but it can be self defeating if you don’t.

  6. leslie says:

    come to canada for a good laugh. having been back only 9 months after spending 25 yrs overseas i am STAGGERED at how difficult canadian institutions, especially banks and govt officials, make it to conduct business. and yet they wonder why the north american economy is in a downward dog. am still struggling to see how the structure of the banking system in NA has ANY relevance to my needs, and when i query those in the know they tell me it is in MY best interest. bank fraud always thrown in at some point. hmmm. i am insured, no? so because 1% (as such) create ill-gotten gains from the assets of the 99% the 99% are continuously hammered and attempts at credible activity are constantly compromised (all the while the bank is earning $$$ from free use of clients $). will add that 3 x i have been affected by fraud and NOT ONCE has the financial inst done anything, even when they had the entire case laid out in front of them and the sum was worthy of reclaim.

    • Paul Coles says:

      Thanks for that Leslie, you sound like you have had more than your fair share of encounters with the 1%ers. It staggers me too that so many organisations just don’t get it.Thanks for your input.

  7. Tammy says:

    It’s sometimes difficult to stay focused on that part – great reminder.

    • Paul Coles says:

      Hi Tammy, it certainly is sometimes difficult. Recently we have put a 100% money back guarantee around the consulting that we do, we know that we will have a few take the mickey and abuse this, but this doctrine still holds true. The 1% are simply a cost of doing business. thanks for your comments.

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