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2019 wow what a year!!

A quick roundup of last years DIY Week Magazine articles month by month.

January – Making decisions based on data

We kicked off the year with tips for making conscious decisions based on real facts. Whilst we love decisions that come from passion and gut reaction, and you should never lose these, the majority of decisions should be deep routed from data. It is key to look beyond the surface facts and dig into the detail or you can easily be mislead. This is especially important when you have had a good result as often we do not take time to study the situation. With a positive result often we move on to the next task rather than go back over the result and challenge if it could have been better. There is real value in the detail.

February – CNY The Year of the pig - a year of fortune and luck

We love Chinese New Year, having a Chinese Great Great Grandfather in our family history who came to England at the turn of the century and started a laundry business in Liverpool. February brought in the “Year of the Pig” a year of fortune and luck. The Chinese love to negotiate they even seem to expect it but don’t forget they are long term thinkers, so with any deal you should consider the long term implications, as they will. This will work to your advantage. Take the time and trouble to understand their business and their culture because if you establish a synergy between you and them you will reap the rewards. We love dealing with this successful nation.

March - Being part of a great team

It’s down to us all to make sure that we are part of a great team. Everyone in the team needs to take responsibility for this. This reminds us of a short story about 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!!

April - People follow great leaders

In April we focused on leadership, inspired unfortunately by the lack of it from the UK government, so we looked at the leaders and the skills they adopted that had inspired us through our careers. They were themes such as, be visible, have a positive mood, interact and understand your team, mentor and speak positively…and communicate, communicate communicate!.

May - Women in Business

May was all about Woman in business. As a nation we seem to be further advanced in the equal treatment and recognition of the power of Woman in business. Although we feel we have further improvements to make as a nation. Some of the most resilient leaders in our lifetime have been woman, their ability to juggle home management, husbands, dogs, cats, kids, and still fit in time to volunteer. We have met a number of talented and successful Women in Business this year and have enjoyed seeing them flourish and be successful. The push to equalise pay and increase the female presence on Company boards is something the world needs to embrace and accelerate.

June - Time for Change

In June there were a number of retailers trying out new store formats, specifically B&Q’s GoodHome, the new Howdens format and the IKEA’s new small store trial. Goodhome by B&Q focuses on fast convenience offering 6000 products accessible for take-away within 5 minutes. We will be keeping an eye on this initiative to see how it progresses. Howdens refresh of their existing outlets continues as they have converted over 30 that we have tracked, and it looks like it is being successful as their performance is positive. We love IKEA, they are the masters of the customer journey and the number of new store trials is evidence they are not sitting back and just enjoying their success. They are making sure they stay relevant and on trend. We predict that other retailers will start more test and trials during 2020…exciting times.

July - Network like you mean it

We love networking and this year have done a lot of work to find ways to move away from the normal pleasantries at a networking event, “my business is going great how is yours…oh mines great too” In reality business is not always great so talking about your challenges is actually quite liberating. You will find that others will agree and you will have better conversations on the back of it. For us networking is about finding new businesses and new people we can and want to work with, like minded folk who share the same passion for business and working together as we do. We have partnered with many businesses this year including “The Boardroom” where we create groups of business owner boards who meet regularly in order to help and gain support to overcome challenges.

August - The eco revolution

Inspired by our local school at “Enterprise week” we judged the competition, where the majority of the 23 teams developed propositions to sell that were ECO friendly. We saw a glimpse of the future workforce being much more ECO aware and focused. Some businesses have really embraced an ECO philosophy, we highlighted the award winning HQ for the Positec Group, who recycle rain water, use solar power and natural light and have a low carbon footprint. It is time for you to look at your office, your operation, the materials you use and who you partner with to be as ECO friendly as you can. Engage your workforce here, they will have some amazing ideas which leads us on to Septembers article…the Power of the collective”

September - The power of the collective

Two heads are better than one. Just look at the number of books and songs that are co-written now, and where would J K Rowling be without Warner Brothers adaptation of her 7 books into the 8 blockbuster films that they are today. Multiple heads brought together that have different backgrounds, experiences and ways of thinking create diverse teams that are super powerful.

Artificial Intelligence has now advanced where a diverse approach pulls together multiple algorithms in order to adapt and optimise, this is how you can search something on Google and have multiple adverts hitting you from many retailers who have found you. Get your teams together, include as many people as you can from all departments, not forgetting outside help…you never know where the next great idea will come from.

October - Screwfix Live 2019

What a fantastic day we both had. The Screwfix Live event is definitely an event pencilled into our diary every year and this year we were asked to write about it. For us, Screwfix does stand out in the crowd of retailers in this sector as one who embraces the power of strong relationships and customer focus and we salute that. The suppliers get so much out of this event, as Will Timmis from Mountfield described it, “it is a great opportunity to get feedback on how customers feel about existing products and the new additions to the range…invaluable”

November - Budget - Its the most wonderful time of the year.

A time of reflection and a time to plan for the endless possibilities for the year ahead...yes your budget. Budgets are hard and the detailed work required to produce a robust one can be arduous. We see it as the formation of the plan of action that will ensure success not just for your business but for every individual in the team. It is not just about the set of figures to follow, the budget P&L is the end point, it is about the set of actions and initiatives for you to track and cascade through your business so everyone can see the part they need to play to have a successful year…it is your opportunity to be excited about the year ahead and create excitement in your business no matter your scale or size of team.

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