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Are you a Whinger or a Winner? by Roger Harrop


There is no question – the prospects for the economies of the UK and the rest of Europe have not been good BUT many sectors have thrived throughout the last 3 years.

You may have seen my (not exhaustive) list of 31 of these sectors and companies that I show in my workshops and master classes – all of which have grown continuously throughout the last three years.

Tomorrow I am meeting with small, medium and large businesses in the UK that are doing well and continue to do well – often despite the sector they’re in. I recently ran a masterclass for a group of estate agents, for example, that if you believe the newspapers should really be in trouble, but they are thriving – and plan to do even better.

I know of an advertising agency that has just had their best 3 years in the 20 they have been in business – despite being in a sector that classically should have been severely hit in recent times.

Amongst the professions also I am meeting with a few – lawyers, architects and accountants – that are doing really well. This is despite the fact that there are others that have recently gone to the wall.

What I see, though, is that there is a common theme to all these companies that are winning.

Very simply, they have “got their act together” and focused back on the basics of the business – any business. They have, for example, gone out and sought customers who have money to spend – a fundamental basic of business that we so often ignore! If their traditional customers have no money then they have rather targeted the ones that have. Surely this is just common sense – you don’t need an MBA or vast experience to work it out!

I find that I am now starting to lose patience with the whingers – those that are blaming the recession, the banks, the Government, exchange rates – indeed just about anyone but themselves – for the failure of their businesses to grow and thrive. Some of the professions, in particular, seem to believe that it’s ‘beneath them’ to get out there and prospect for customers.

My view is that prospecting for customers is an absolute fundamental of any business. Indeed it is easy to argue that if your market share is below, say, 80% then you have such headroom ….



© 2012 Roger Harrop Associates

Roger Harrop

Roger Harrop has spent over 25 years leading international businesses, including a plc, which puts him in a unique position to deal with present-day business challenges. Based in Oxford in the UK, he’s an international business growth speaker who inspires and entertains audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® programmes. Over 20,000 CEOs, business leaders and others in 38 countries have achieved transformational change through his thought-provoking, entertaining talks laced with real-life stories and humour. Roger is also an author, business advisor, mentor, consultant and independent director. He has unusually wide leadership experience … from small start-ups to multinationals … and from high-tech products to basic commodities, people-based service businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Roger spent seven years as Group Chief Executive of a FTSE quoted, high-tech industrial group with 12 sites across 4 continents. The UK Government mentioned it in its ‘Competitiveness’ White Paper. The US Forbes magazine included the group among its list of the top 100 overseas companies. Two business schools have used it as a benchmark case study on culture change and business re-engineering. Roger has tutored on a leading leadership and teambuilding programme for over 25 years. He’s a keen windsurfer, mountain biker and classic car enthusiast.

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