The Chairman called the Board to order.

After the usual introductory agenda items, he went straight to the subject of this Extraordinary Meeting: The Vision for the organisation.

“Thank you all for your enormous individual contributions”, he said. “Your ideas and concepts have been collated and, as a result, a Vision Statement has been produced. This will be the guide to our future strategies. Before reading this statement however, I must say how pleasing it has been to see the extent to which we’re aligned, here. While your ideas may have been varied and imaginative, we are as one in acknowledging that our greatest competitor is not “The Other Big Retailer”, but rather, it is the small business sector, in general. This statement is therefore, a vision of how we will deal with that competition.

“We have been – and are continuing to be – successful on the supply chain side. We have wiped out several small businesses completely and brought many others to heal in supplying to us on our terms. As we continue with this strategy, we can be assured that we will eventually succeed in having purchased suppliers’ businesses at bargain prices or having all suppliers exactly where we want them.”

 

“Now to the Vision Statement:

It is the Vision for This Big Retailer, by the year 2030, to have virtually no competition from the small business sector. Our only other competitor with be The Other Big Retailer and that will not be a problem because its Vision Statement is almost identical to this. (How do we know this? Let’s just say, while we might appear to be fierce competitors, that doesn’t mean the Chairman of The Other Big Retailer and I do not socialise together! Of course, we don’t discuss our businesses – that would contrary to the rules – but we do have deep and meaningful hypothetical discussions.)”

At this, the board erupted into laughter. “They might call him many things,” one member confided in another “but no-one can doubt the Chair’s sense of humour!”

“To continue…” the Chairman went on. “The success of our efforts in supply chain management will be mirrored by that of retail services. There will be no service not supplied. There will be no product not sold. There will be no reason for the Consumer to shop anywhere but here. Or perhaps The Other Big Retailer.

At this, there were enthusiastic murmurings of support; “Here, here!”, “This is good!” and “Great stuff, sir!”

“We will be able to keep costs at a minimum through the further adoption of technology and reduction of staff numbers. Night fillers? No – all shelves will be stocked via automation. Check-out people? All gone via trolleys that will record purchases and charge the customer’s credit card. (That will be a This Big Retailer credit card, of course.)

“There will be clothing, cafes, coffee shops, shoes, pizzas, burgers – you name it – all available and all owned by This Big Retailer. Over time, This Big Retailer will begin to acquire franchises – those that we do not believe cannot be destroyed within a reasonable timeframe. Our “toe in the water” with regards newsagencies and pharmacies will have become the whole foot! Those businesses, as we now know them, will cease to exist. No more high-priced newsagents and all retail pharmacists employed by This Big Retailer!”

Now the board was becoming noisy in its fervent support. “Yes – bring it on!”

“In fact, the majority of the medical services business will soon be handled via technology, with medical diagnosis and the dispensing of pharmaceutical products all done without the need for medical practitioners or pharmacists.

“It will be a similar story with other professions, such as law where cases will be accepted via technology and its algorithms will provide solutions. Of course, the means to provide these services will be found at This Big Retailer.

“Shopping Centres will continue to have specialty shops – where they are seen as providing an advantage – however, all of those shops will owned by This Big Retailer. Shopping Centre developers will no longer have the problem of dealing with those irritating small business owners and franchisees. One negotiation only, one goal, one outcome.

 “Our prices will be low to commence with – mainly by the lack of service we’ll need to provide, thus requiring fewer people – however, as the number of competitors diminishes, we’ll be able to gradually increase our margins and our profits will soar.

 “The financial markets will love supporting and recommending This Big Retailer as investment returns grow. They will be champing at the bit to be involved in capital raisings to buy more franchises or to invest in new technology, as that investment will inevitably result in fewer employees, reduced costs and even higher profits.

“The retail sky, is our limit!

The endorsement of the company Vison had, by now, reached a frenzy and there were wild scenes of board members out of their seats, high-fiving and fist-pumping. The chairman made little attempt to quell the enthusiasm, but let it gradually subside, revelling in the moment.

“So, that, ladies and gentlemen of the board, is the Vision for This Big Retailer for 2030. Although we have placed a 13-year timeframe on this Vision, I strongly suggest it be reviewed every two years, in recognition of the rate of change that is occurring.

“Now it’s over to you Mr CEO to develop strategies and to implement those strategies so that this Vision that the board has produced, becomes reality.

 

Again, thank you all for your invaluable contributions towards this exciting way forward.”

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What John Matthew believes about small business

That the owner has risked many things that others take for granted;

That there is no guaranteed income or reward for the considerable effort that is required;

That often, the family home is on the line to support the business and its constituents;

That there is a dignity and self-respect that is earned;

That entire communities would be better places if there was an increased appreciation and respect for small business.

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