Business column: “Innovation and resolve” for Barking and Dagenham market traders

Mark Kass, the enterprise development manager for Barking Enterprise Centre, speaks about the need for businesses to adapt with the times.

Just as you think you’re getting your business on track, something annoying happens to cause things to change around you and before you know it things start slipping uncontrollably through your fingers.

Take the UK cinema industry favourite, Odeon. Back in the 1940s there were more than 2billion visits to the cinema every year but with the introduction of commercial TV and new technology that figure plummeted to only 60 million in the late 1980s.

Since then the business has had to reinvent itself. Multiplex cinemas were introduced, tand the image of cinema going changed to retain existing cinema buffs and attract new ones away from gizmos such as set-top boxes, computers and mobile phones. Some 30 years later there are now 200m cinema visits per annum.

But you don’t have to be a multi-national, well funded mega-rich company to reinvent yourself. Some of the best examples we have in Barking and Dagenham are our own market traders.

They adapt and they change on a daily basis. They listen to their customers, they keep an eye on the weather, they keep an eye on new stocks and new trends so there are no big surprises, let-downs or shortfalls.

There is lobbying going on about a proposed disruption to the layout of the market in Barking but I’m sure with innovation and resolve we expect from our amazing traders and some great market managers, they will adapt and they will survive. There will need to be tough decisions but it’s the new ways of thinking about how “re-invention” happens that will get them over it.

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I know the ol’ East London survival skills will kick in and something great will come out of this.