Fastest, Biggest, Latest or Slowest, Smallest and Oldest?

A - fastest or slowest

New! Fast service! Bigger than ever before! 

We've all seen these advertising claims. Look around and you'll see plenty of examples of businesses that shout 'New!' or service that's been speeded up. Buildings and businesses that are bigger than ever before.

If you run a small business that's been around for a while, it's easy to feel a bit panicked by all the shiny claims for attention.

Over the last year life felt much slower and more thoughtful. Now it's suddenly speeded up. It feels like the hamster wheel is well and truly spinning again. 

Do you need to think of something new to offer? To maybe promise faster service or to consider how you can put a gloss on what you do? 

Not necessarily. There will always be a market for fast, new and big. Some people will always feel compelled to chase the latest thing. 

But others feel reassured by businesses, and people (!) who've been around for a while. Who know what they're doing, and feel comfortable with what they do. There are plenty of visitors who love old, small, slow sustainable, and solid. 

From time to time we all need to glance at what's happening around us and decide what it means for us.

Sometimes we can learn from others. Sometimes we need to join in whatever is happening around us.

Sometimes we need to do the opposite. Sometimes we need to just stick with what feels right.

I recently found myself feeling a bit irked by all the people who seem to be shouting about their services, by all the frenzied activity as they dart back to normal life. For a moment I wondered whether I needed to join in with the rushing and the thrusting and pushing.

I quickly remembered how much more comfortable I feel when working quietly, alone, in nature.

I don't want shiny because I love greenery much more. I don't want fast because I enjoy a more considered approach to life.

I love places where I can see the patina of many lives before mine, where nature is at the forefront, where people are calm and kind.

I don't like huge shelves of choice, of the biggest latest and fastest new things - I enjoy re-using, adapting and exploring different ways of doing things. That wonderful feeling of recognising there's sometimes as much life and wonder in a small historic place as in a huge soulless modern one. 

All of these are just my personal preferences but I think post-Covid more and more people are turning to nature, to slower ways of being. More people are ready to pause and to saunter instead of striding. 

There's still a huge market for the fastest, biggest and newest but if you offer old, slow or small this could also be your time

We need to be comfortable with who and what we are, whatever that is. It's easier than ever before to find our niche and to attract people who want what we offer. While everyone runs circles around us, we'll perhaps get where-ever we're going by simply sticking to our lane. What do you think? 

5 comments

Alison Goodwin

You're my mirror right now Susan. I've felt that I've needed to speed up. Provide this or that in Adventures for the Soul to get attention. Quite frankly it just doesn't sit right. So I'm taking a deep breath, hanging in there and staying true to the ethos of the biz.

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Diane Howarth

Thank you for confirming my sanity Susan. Just what I needed. Our guests have confirmed that we just have to keep doing what we are doing as their desire to return to the Dales is most definitely there this year and in the future. 

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Rowena Hutchinson

  1. Having had my business wrecked in the floods in 2019, I was heartened by the number of people who asked me to repair the premises and business as near as possible to what it had been, The Red Lion in Langthwaite  is a small business which we have run since 1964 and most of our customers do not want change.
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I agree Rowena. You offer something very special. I also know what it's like to be flooded (several times!) and it can be hard to remain upbeat. Good luck. 

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Paul Stafford

Fully agree with your sentiment that there is room for us all and sometimes we need to stand back and realise this. Slow-tourism is offering something that bright lights and shiny surfaces cannot -escape and continuity. It is unfortunate that the big shiny businesses seem to have the money to throw at marketing which (appears) to drown those of us running small independent ones. But with the correct use of social media and plugging away I am sure we can all achieve something.

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