You can watch the full video above, but here are some of the key takeaways:
On how to keep a business continually improving on itself
When Terry launched and co-operated Toni & Guy in Sweden, the key way the business was able to grow was by focusing on what they had done right, and reflecting on and learning from what they could do better.
“I hear myself coming back to that all the time. How can we be better tomorrow based on what happened today? Always looking forward, rather than looking back too much, because what has happened is already in the past? It’s done,” said Terry.
“We should never look back at bad experiences and say ‘what happened at that time will happen again’. We can learn from things that happened in the past, and focus on thinking forward.
“And not only the one step forward, but what’s the potential next step after that? And after that? Because sometimes, if you start as far out on the line as you possibly can [and] you work your way back, it makes the path clearer and easier to follow.”
On being a good leader
The most important part of being a good leader, is to understand that leaders are completely dependent on those around them, and that their job is to keep their workers happy and fulfilled, according Terry.
“I think if you’re a CEO or whatever, and you’re not connected to the frontline – if you’re not part of every single part of your business – you’re not doing a good job. I honestly mean that,” said Terry.
“I come from the service industry. It’s hairdressers, right? And people used to say to workers, ‘lots of people can cut hair, and can probably cut hair even better than us. So what is it that’s going to make people come to us?’
“You have to make your customers feel seen, and only workers who care about their job will do that.”
This attitude came from decades of working within a different organisational structure than is seen in most companies. Sweden tends to utilise flat organisational structures in their businesses, and CEOs are typically at the bottom, according to Terry.
“As a CEO, or a creative director, I was completely dependent on every single other person in the business, and nobody is more important than anyone else. I think a leader should be somebody who is not afraid to get their hands dirty.”
On the changing consumer
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many more people to shop online, making an already fickle online space even more so. And at the same time, consumers are now considering more factors than simply price and availability to decide on purchases.
“I think that the consumer is more mindful, and more conscious,” said Terry.
“Even if you look at sustainability and the environment, there are so many other factors that come into a customer’s purchase decision nowadays. There is this consciousness, and there’s all of these different layers that the consumer considers and in the online space, it’s very, very fickle.
“Physical retail is cool because somebody has actually gotten dressed, put on their makeup, driven down and walked into the shop: they’ve invested time to get in there. So when they’re in there, they often want something to happen.
“But online, you know, we all do it. We just click, click, click [through sites quickly]. It’s super fickle. How do you get someone to stay with you? Time on site is key at the top of the funnel. How do we get them there? And how do we hold them there if we’re not holding them there with the broadest assortment, and the cheapest prices?
“For us to really survive as retailers, particularly in the online space, but also in the physical space, we need to find our unique selling proposition. What do we offer, not only to the consumer to get them in and hold them there, but also to our brand partners?”
On finding a unique selling proposition
The key to surviving in an industry racing to sell the highest volume of cheap goods is to stand out, Terry explained, and the best way to do that is to understand why the business exists and lean into that.
“This might be a bit controversial, but I think being super transactional and just being the cheapest and loudest it is a bit of a race to the bottom for everyone,” said Terry.
“I don’t think that it’s sustainable, and some big players will win there, but what I would say is to try and find why somebody would want to come visit your brand?
“What is it that we will do, which is going to make us interesting and exciting and give us a point of difference? And then, how do we do that? How do we execute on that?
“And I think that that starts with why you exist and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
“Why would a customer want to be part of your platform and why would a brand want to be there? That’s where you need to start, and then build everything from that. Because once you understand your ‘why’ you have a very, very clear path forward, because you can always fall back on that.”
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