Advice and Opinion

How your business can be ‘forever profitable’


Asking the right questions, knowing what forth-coming industry and consumer trends are coming as well as ‘unlearning’ the way we currently do things are just some of the many disruptive points John Sanei raised at the recent South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Gauteng Chapter Breakfast.

Sanei, global speaker, author, entrepreneur and trend specialist shared his thought-provoking presentation on how businesses can be forever profitable especially in the retail and shopping centre industry.

“Ask bigger, bolder questions about what your consumer wants rather than what your shareholders do. Shareholders demand profitability each quarter and this doesn’t leave room for innovation. It doesn’t allow us to jump categories and it doesn’t allow us to breathe in a new world that requires innovation and experimentation. We need to start asking ourselves what else can we offer our consumers besides retail space,” he said.

According to Sanei, the world as we know is it fast evolving. Consumers are ordering items off their smart phones, technology is rendering traditional methods of shopping and business obsolete and automated transportation will soon impact almost every sector in big way. “This new world we are moving towards can define us either as victims or architects. How we approach this new world is determined solely on the audacity, courage and boldness we have to ask new questions of how we stay profitable and relevant in this new world,” he said.

Sanei touched on how businesses need to start rapidly evolving to keep abreast of the changing world. “Asking better questions is the first step towards evolution. If you and your competitors are asking the same question, you will arrive at the same answer-this needs to change. If we look at Mercedes Benz as an example, they have come out saying that BMW and Lexus is not their competitor. Rather their competition has become Google and Apple. With this in mind, Mercedes Benz have announced recently, that they are aiming directly at Tesla because power is mobility and if they do not jump-in on the power game now, then they will obsolete in the next couple of years. Mercedes have begun to ask better questions and unlearn the way they did business. If we don’t unlearn the ways we have done things that were once successful, we won’t be relevant in the future,” he added.

John’s approach to being forever profitable focuses on three ‘core components’. Each of these components are
designed to successfully launch companies into the future. According to John, time is speeding up and the future is
now. “What we are seeing now is the future coming at us at a really fast pace. Being a businessman or woman is
becoming increasingly difficult. The world is changing. We are starting to see the collapse of capitalism. With the death of capitalism, we will see the rise of the sharing economy. We’re starting to see that having a differentiator in a business is not enough in this day and age. You need to be aware of the futures of your industry, your consumer, your staff and lastly your possible competitors,” he said.

Sanei touched on how omni-channel platforms are the steps retailers need to take in order to remain relevant. “What are landlords and shopping centres managers doing to educate tenants on omni-channel sales. How are we adding value to our shopping centres? Maybe create storage and dispatch stations to assist tenants carry out their omni-channel services to their customers. We have to learn how to seize the attention of the customer and ease the process of purchasing or paying for items,” he said.

Amanda Stops, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) encouraged Gauteng-based entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, retailers and industry professionals to attend these networking events. “John Sanei offered unique approach on many topics and his presentation on being ‘Forever Profitable’ shed immense light on a crucial aspect of all businesses’ survival and that is profitability. These networking events provide a deeper understanding of our evolving industry as well as offer invaluable networking opportunities for attendees,” she said.