Inside the Mind of regional expert Minnie Moll

Minnie Moll is Chief Executive of Jarrold Retail in Norwich, joining the business in July 2018 from her previous role as Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op.

Minnie spent over 4 years at the Co-op, leading on community engagement and their mission to become the leading dementia friendly retailer in the region for which they won national awards. Minnie has sat on the boards of Suffolk Business Women, Ipswich Central and the Ipswich BID and was HRH Prince Charles’ Ambassador for Responsible Business in the East of England till 2018.

Ahead of our “Inside the Minds of Business Leaders 2019” events, we asked Minnie Moll, Chief Executive Officer of Jarrold department store, and the regional expert panel member for our Norwich event some key questions…

1. What do you think is the top concern owner-managed businesses (OMBs) are faced with today. How do you recommend they might overcome it?

“There are three things I hear most often. The squeeze on profitability due to rising costs e.g. payroll and the National Living Wage, the cost of utilities and raw materials are all on the up, rents and rates too. All of which are putting increasing pressure on businesses to strike a very fine balance on pricing in order to retain a reasonable amount of profit, yet remain competitive. This is particularly apparent in markets where disruptors are able to undercut the incumbent businesses through innovative efficiencies. Solution: keep your focus on profit not sales and look at how you can work smarter. I wish I had all the answers on this one!

“In addition to this, the pace of change is faster than we’ve ever seen before and it isn’t showing signs of slowing down. This is a real challenge for businesses as they need to focus on the day job as well as continually monitoring the competitor landscape, customer behaviours and be able to adapt quickly to new and changing needs and demands. Recommendation: build in as much customer feedback loop as you can. Keep close to what they are thinking and doing and most importantly how they feel you are serving their needs.

“And finding the right people with the right skills seems to be a challenge for some businesses in our region. Recommendation: build your employer brand, incentivise your colleagues to find new talent and build a network of connectors so you are always connecting with talent not just looking when a vacancy comes up.

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2. Where do you think the greatest opportunities lie in today’s business environment?

“Being truly customer focused. What is the role you are playing in their lives? What are their unmet needs? How can you surprise and delight them?

“Customer loyalty is harder to come by nowadays. Competition is fierce and exists in new and changing ways. In addition, there are so many brand touchpoints that if you want your business to stand out, you must create a unified and consistent brand experience through every channel. And you need to offer something different.

3. Almost seven in ten firms see superior marketing initiatives from rivals as being a threat today. What advice can you give to businesses feeling the pressure from media-savvy rivals and market disruptors?

“See marketing as an investment, not a cost. Get clear on what is different and better about your offer. Tell that story in a big, bold way. We are so bombarded with communication, it has to stand out to have a chance of making a difference. ”

4. 74% of business leaders respond to talent scarcity through more flexible and attractive working conditions. Aside from remuneration, how else can employers incentivise their top employees to stay?

“By making their work role intrinsically motivating and understanding that one of the biggest influences on job satisfaction is the relationship with your direct line manager. Too many businesses fail to address people issues and poor leadership.”

To hear more from Minnie Moll, Chief Executive of Jarrold Retail in Norwich, book your place at one of Price Bailey’s Inside the Minds of Business Leaders 2019 events, where she will be a panellist and discuss further interesting research and business insights. For more information and to attend one of the events, visit pricebailey.co.uk/leaders2019

If you need further information on any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with us using the contact form below.

We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

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