Keeping it fresh (video).

How are you developing your proposition for the next generation?

The reason that some high profile retail and restaurant businesses are failing and closing outlets has nothing to do with the economy or consumer confidence. It's because they were stale, stuck in the past, and lost their customers to better businesses.

Running time 02:47

Key Points:

In recent weeks we've seen a number of high profile business failures and closures: Maplins and Toys R Us in retail, and various restaurant chains closing branches – including Byron, Prezzo, Chimichanga, Jamies Italian and Carluccio. The obvious commentary is that it’s a downturn in consumer confidence, the decline of eating out and so forth. But it’s not. Those markets are as strong as they’ve ever been. The reason those businesses are struggling, is not because customers have stopped buying toys or eating out, they just found far better places to do it.

Toys R Us has underinvested in stores, in people, in ideas, for nearly two decades, and considering the wealth of competition, it's a wonder it lasted as long as it did. Byron brought a whole new level of quality to the burger-loving UK public, but has done nothing to move that on since it launched - if anything quality has gone backwards, while dozens of upstarts have come in and raised the bar considerably.

Every proposition has a natural life span, and if you’re not ready to launch something better, faster, more exciting for your customers before yours becomes stale, someone else will. So take a good look at your customer proposition right now. Do you know what the next generation of that should look like? And are you getting ready to launch it? Because if you’re not, someone else probably will.