Nostalgia can Kill your Business- May You Live in Interesting Times – Part 1

Give me a choice between making a change and being comfortable and I will take being comfortable every time. Why give yourself extra work? Yet the funny thing is that we do make changes. Some of them we initiate ourselves, and others are forced upon us. Let’s face it: if we didn’t have people constantly improving the way we do things, we might still be living in caves. No wheels, no paper, no instant hot water, no fire…


Earlier this year I enjoyed the 16th anniversary of my arrival in Bali. I travelled here with just a four-day booking. About a month later I had a fitted out kitchen and someone to run it for me. I was the owner of glasses, plates and a TV. I travelled to Java for the purpose of buying a houseful of teak furniture.


This was certainly a big change from the high-pressure business consultancy life I had left behind in Australia. It was totally unplanned, but I was quite opportunistic. The money in my bank account was earning 50% interest; enough to cover my living costs. I remember going to Delta Dewata to buy some groceries. The owners were so overwhelmed with my U$25 purchases that they gave me a free umbrella, thanking me profusely. Everyone in the store knew of my extravagant ways.


Delta Dewata has Changed since then!

Just look at their improvements:

– Nowadays, nobody would bat an eyelid if my order was over U$200, or whether I pay with cash or card.
– They have increased their floor space to at least 8 times its original size.
– They have implemented a secondary growth strategy of mini-marts all over the district. These mini-marts have succeeded because of a large customer base. They meet the needs of tourists by providing handy snacks and ready-to-eat meals near their accommodation.
– Their stock management and point-of-sale systems have improved.
– Their staff are more composed and competent.
– But more than anything else, their stock mix has totally changed. There’s a large area devoted to imported products. When you look around, you might expect most of their customers to be expats. But the people behind and in front of me at the checkout are just as likely to be locals—and affluent locals at that.


Ten years ago pet shops were unheard of in Bali. This change alone says so much about the changing demographics and customer behaviour.


Of course not everyone had the vision or capabilities to take advantage of Bali’s growing economy. 12 years ago there was another store in Ubud called Massas. It was at least as big as Delta Dewata, but hasn’t grown at all.


As we can clearly see, changes in Ubud in the past decade have been quite profound!


As these changes have occurred, we as residents have adapted. We are nearly always connected to the internet and constantly aware of what’s happening in the news, entertainment and social network platforms. The Balinese desire to have the latest and greatest is plain to see. The increase in smart phones is quite phenomenal and most are aware that Indonesia has the second highest Facebook membership in the world.


Next time, I want to look at how government has also changed and how those changes affect us as business owners. For now, look around your neighbourhood and notice the changes that have taken place. Have you sufficiently adapted?


Graeme Stevens
CEO and Co-Founder
neXtep easy


neXtep Business Builder Community Pte Ltd
Singapore ACRA Business Registration Number: 201424522Z
80 Kitchener Road #09-09/10 Singapore 208539


There is a discussion going on right now in the neXtep Community on this – join in!