The Power Of Fear

Fear is a powerful force.

Fear can impede change, paralyzing the potential for progress. Fear can also compel change, unleashing the will to survive and advance.

We’ve all probably felt the two-way pull of fear’s compulsions in recent weeks in life and in business, causing us to submit to the caution of seeking shelter while summoning the mettle to overcome hardship.

There is no weakness in the acknowledgement of fear. Anxiety about competitive disruption has been the burden of much of the independent gourmet kitchenware retailing segment long before this unrelenting worldwide pandemic shut down small retail businesses across the land.

And through each threat, perseverance has been redefined by those able to channel self- admission of their vulnerabilities into new ideas and practices layered onto their original foundations of success.

Of course, the latest, sudden jolt — brought about through no fault of any small business operator — comes with more immediate financial consequences than previous market disruptions.

Weathering the fiscal crisis is a daunting first objective for many. Those that can will confront a near- and far-term mandate for operational and marketing change unlike anything for which they ever prepared.

But, if we have gleaned anything positive from the negativity of this crisis, it’s the reminder of how quickly, responsively, and effectively the gourmet kitchenware community joins forces to confront their biggest concerns and challenges. This special edition of GOURMET INSIDER® presents myriad examples of how retailers have pivoted out of necessity during the crisis and, more importantly, how many of these new business practices likely must adhere to serve a consumer base whose altered shopping preferences and expectations could be indelible.

For the most progressive retailers in this marketplace, it requires a continuation of an eyes-wide-open, adaptive operating outlook already baked into their various approaches to business. For others, including those most resistant to change through the years, it requires rapid, perhaps radical transformation beyond comfort levels just to get realigned consumers to the curb, let alone inside the front door.

Find encouragement in one constant that has always formed the foundation of successful independent retailing: The best operators possess, beyond passion and expertise, devoted connections to the people of their communities. Such locally rooted goodwill, expressed so often the past several weeks by independent retailers in support of relief efforts, builds confidence and trust— two of the most essential qualities as the retailing world reopens.

Absolute fearlessness can be tantamount to foolishness in all walks of life and business. Admitting to fear often is the first step to overcoming fear and harnessing its power to unleash all the necessary next steps required to survive and advance.