Interview with Paul Pavli

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I recently caught up with an old contact of mine from the licenced trade, Paul Pavli, in order to invite him onto my podcast.

Paul is an independent consultant with a long and illustrious career in the pub trade, recently being the Managing Director of Punch Taverns.

I wanted to ask his opinion on what pubs could do when they reopen, and trade starts to get back to normal. And of course, pubs are just independent businesses, so these ideas will be helpful to any business.

You can listen to the full conversation on my podcast, but here are the key points he mentioned:

  1. You need to understand your consumer: their whole world has changed over the last year and you need to understand where they are at, and how their physical situation and outlook have changed. When you understand this well you can develop what you do in order to satisfy their needs better.
  • There has been a shift towards consumers wanting to do business with and support local businesses more. During the summer of 2020 this became very apparent. The key is now to give them an experience to make sure they want to come back.
  • It’s vitally important to look at all your systems and see where new services and, in particular, technology can be a real help to you: for example, in pubs it might be a good idea to take on a booking system that means your time is freed up to focus on what you do well: making sure the customer has a wonderful experience and wants to come back more frequently. At the same time this can enhance the experience of booking so that customers get a great experience from the start.
  • There is a lot of consumer pent up demand and small independent businesses can do lots of things that their bigger competitors can’t do: they can be much nimbler and make sure that customers have a wonderful time and want to come back more frequently.
  • This may even be a great time to stand back and do an old-fashioned SWOT analysis to see what you are really good at where your weaknesses are and what your opportunities and threats are.

I was very grateful to Paul for all his ideas, and I asked him what the one key thing he felt was that small businesses could do now.

His answer was: to understand the customer really well by taking the time to speak and listen to them properly and from this information to see what you can do in order to get them to come back to you once more every month.

Of course, this fits in with the ideas in slow selling of understanding the customers real needs, gathering professional feedback, and moving forward by the inch.

It seems to me to be such a simple idea, that almost any independent business can take hold of: ‘How can I get my customer to come back once more per month / year etc’: a small and practical extra inch that would make such a huge difference to the bottom line.

I hope you get the time to listen to the podcast and get one or two simple but powerful ideas from it.

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