Opinion | City shows it’s invested in quality | Brad Ferguson

BRIGHT EVOLUTION: We are seeing Newcastle - and its businesses - in a different light.
BRIGHT EVOLUTION: We are seeing Newcastle - and its businesses - in a different light.

The evolution of Newcastle into one of the world’s great cities gathered momentum recently with the opening of the East End development.

We are so fortunate to have people like Iris Capital, who have displayed the courage and passion required to create a world-class lifestyle facility.

The interest in this development, along with the Herald apartments and many other quality recent projects, shows clearly that Novocastrians appreciate quality and are prepared to invest in the best.

We, as business owners, should now look forward with confidence in the knowledge that our customers will pay for something they see value in.

As always, the key here is to be able to identify the need and illustrate the value to the customer.

It seems as though Newcastle has until recently fallen victim to its proud working class history with the assumption made that we remain a community who will settle for cheap over quality and value.

This assumption indicates we are not ready to embrace prestige products, however the adoption of these projects shows that this is clearly not the case.

Doing the bare minimum will no longer be enough

It is wonderful to see people coming into town with a vision for the future and being prepared to invest in the creation of something really special.

With this progress there will be challenges, and we are seeing this with the disruption in the CBD, but the longer term view for Newcastle is very exciting.

Of course that doesn’t mean we should trivialise the obstacles faced by the businesses being affected by these disruptions. This is a real issue, and even short-term reductions in sales can kill a small business.

For business owners, this expectation of quality and value will continue to grow and flow into all sectors. Customers will continue to expect more from the bar and wait staff at our hospitality establishments, more from our retail workers and certainly more from their professional service providers.

Doing the bare minimum, or simply what’s expected, will no longer be enough, as with more people comes more competition and there will always be someone who comes along who has taken the goods or service you supply to the next level.

Looking around the city I can’t help but be excited by the future, but also a little nervous about what these heightened expectations will mean for our business.

Fortunately, a bit of nervousness is a good thing as it can focus the mind on the work that needs to be done and reduces the chance of complacency.

The businesses that are able to stay at the top of their game for extended periods are those that can see where the future customer is going and provide what they want, before they even know they want it.

Brad Ferguson is the managing director at the Newcastle office of Bell Partners Wealth Creation & Financial Advisory