“Business agility is a behaviour. It's the response of your people and your organisation as a whole towards a stimulus, which can be a technological, economical, political or social change.”
Talmix independent consultant Zoe talks to us about resource agility, the importance of understanding how the youth discover product ranges through the way learn, and why independent consultants are a perfect use-case for a long-term strategic commitment.
Getting Started in Consulting
As a new mother, juggling the corporate and child care worlds, Zoe was no stranger to working flexibly. After spending many years in commerce, specifically in the Entertainment and Retail worlds, Zoe decided to use the experience and skills she’d built up, on a project-basis and pursued a portfolio career where she had the opportunity to selectively work with clients. “As an independent consultant, I have the luxury of being able to bring a very specific and relevant set of skills to the clients I work with. As a consultant, you’re there for a real purpose – you go into a project and transform something for your client. You solve a problem for them, and you enable them to move forward – leaving you the room to pull out once everything is stabilised and the client is happy to continue on without your help,” she tells me.
When Agility stems from simply looking at things differently.
Zoe has had the opportunity to lead teams of people across the Entertainment and Retail Industry and throughout, Zoe accredits the fundamental critical success point of business agility to building strong relationships and ensuring that you have the right staff with the right amount of flexibility. “In the retail world specifically, you cannot hang around for too long. The art of retail is always being be able to interpret customer behaviour and deliver a retail experience that meets their need, mood and buying appetite,” she tells me. And whether it was while Zoe was heading up retail for Stanstead Airport where buying behaviour was shaped by external environmental factors like motorway traffic, delayed flights and security incidents, or whether it was while she was heading up the retail function for Vue Cinemas – a 68-strong cinema chain in the UK & Europe, understanding how and when consumers buy was down to a retailer’s ability to be agile and adapt accordingly. “The biggest challenge when it comes to business agility from a staffing point of view is having a strong leadership team who is geared towards adaptability and quick implementation. The cinema industry is already adapting itself towards change. Vue Cinemas, for example, already put themselves out there as an entertainment experience – offering their customers the opportunity to view live sporting, theatre and music events, not just movies. They’re demonstrating that the atmosphere of a cinema is one that you could never get in your home,” she says.
The Retail relevance of data interpretation by children
The future of retail lies in the future consumer who will be purchasing. And with the surge for all things online, retailers need to be aware of the next technology that will enable consumers to purchase. And that, Zoe says, lies in the way that children learn and gather data. “Marketing a product is becoming aware of how children, from the ages of 10 and up, are searching out data and learning about new products available to them. Things are completely different to the way it has always been – influencers now play a huge role in the child’s decision-making process – whether the influencer is a sports personality, a celebrity, or even simply someone in their own community that they look up to. It’s up to the retailer to be aware of, and understand, the way that children are learning, and buying.” We speak about the rest of the consumer world, and Zoe shares her insight on why businesses need to become wider. “Because retailers now serve a community of purchasers who continually grow through new technology and routes to market, retailers are being forced to follow the same curve. They need to split their marketing strategy across more platforms. The physical visit to a store will always be important, but it’s going to become a very different environment. Moving away from the traditional purchasing world, you’ll find that many high street stores will become sources of entertainment or leisure, to compliment the purchasing experience,” she adds.
So why the need for independent consultants?
“This time last year, I was working with Costcutter Supermarket Group. The reason they employed me was to solve a very particular problem. They simply needed to get it done and sometimes, it’s hard to find the right person for a very specific problem,” she says. But Zoe shares insight which is beyond just “getting the job done”. “With Costcutter, they were wanting to transform the organisation completely. And they realised that they needed someone to head up the role on a permanent basis – but as they were testing this new approach and direction proposed, they were looking for an experienced individual who could help them test this first – without the long-term commitment of a full-time hire. That’s where I came in. I had the experience they needed, I had the skill they would typically recruit for – but I offered them something even better – I had the flexibility and agility that allowed them to test their approach before investing a huge commitment for the long run,” she tells me. Businesses change so quickly, and they need to adapt quickly – and many take a huge risk by just changing course without due care and analysis. Independent Consultants offer more than just a solution – they offer a use-case scenario that empowers the organisation to move forward confidently – just as Zoe did for Costcutter Supermarket Group.
Why you’d want to work with Zoe
Zoe is planned and organised. She believes in the importance of being structure – allowing her to pick up projects and challenges, and delivering value from the very first day. She believes in understanding her full remit and the details of each client she works with, in order to become absorbed in her ability to deliver what they expect, and more. “I’m a big believer in continuous learning and to keep developing. I have recently completed a Social Media Management course to enable me to have another string to my consultancy bow,” she says. “I would now feel entirely comfortable not only managing the social sites of a business but also creating and implementing their strategy. Many companies are still reluctant to invest large sums in this area and I can show them the value to their bottom line without them investing in permeant staffing until they appreciate the true value of how they can grow sales through social media.”
If you’re ready for change, and you’d like to work with someone like Zoe, then get in touch with your Talmix representative today.
About the AuthorMore Content by Katy Roberts