Personally, it’s been a great year for me so far. Blogs done well, soared past the targets I set it at the start of the year, loads of comments, new readers and plenty to talk about this year. But it’s the performance of our family business that has pleased us the most.
The start of the year was predicted to be so apocalyptic for the industry as a whole. Hundreds, if not thousands of businesses were supposedly going to the wall this year, leaving thousands unemployed and an industry in tatters with no Government support. Instead, I think the industry has had a much more consolidatory period. We have seen the conservatory roof market shrink in size due to a number of company acquisitions, but no job losses (yet). Yes there have been bankruptcies but nowhere near the numbers that people thought it would be earlier on. And the type of business this year is different I think.
For example, last year we were fitting door after door after door. There were the odd window or two in the mix, but the predominant product we were installing was doors. It was cheap compared to a full house installation, two bad winters had ruined most people’s doors and free-to-spend cash wasn’t available, so doors were the popular choice. Now, what we have fit week after week if full house replacements. 12 windows and 2 doors for example. Probably for a couple of reasons. People finally biting the bullet and realising that sometimes the whole lot just needs replacing and they need to get on with it. But also due to the stagnant housing market. People that have been saving to help them move properties and then staying. It is these people that are sitting on maybe £20-£40k and have decided that they’re better of spending the money on major home improvements. What ever the reason, the big jobs have been coming in thick and fast this time round and it is very welcome!
It has meant that the targets we set ourselves look quite paltry and severely under-estimated now. At the start of the year, we looked at the 2011 figures and analysed the predictions for this year. We came to the conclusion that this was going to probably be an extremely tough year and the chances of getting significantly passed last years sums wasn’t going to be that likely. So we set the overall yearly target to just a smidge over what the total was last year. If we managed it then we’d consider that fair play, if we went under then it wasn’t a surprise and if we went over then that’s very welcome news but unexpected. I’m really pleased to say however that with the types of jobs that have been coming in this year so far, we are only one good week of sales away from passing the yearly target already! Bearing in mind this is the last day in August, we’ll have reached our main goal with 4 months to spare!
Clearly this is something which we did not expect to do, at least not so early. So during these next few months we have the rare luxury of being able to be relaxed about our figures, knowing we’ve surpassed our own expectations. Everything else that comes in is a well deserved bonus.
The difficult thing is going to be how to follow this year up. At the start of 2013 we are going to have to assess this years figures, look at the predictions for the coming year and see how to go about beating it – though this would be difficult as this is our best year for five years.
This isn’t a post which is just blowing smoke up our own backsides. The last few years have been tough, every week and every month being up and down. Not knowing how the next few weeks are going to pan out in terms of leads and sales. For once, it is immensely pleasing to finally write about true success. Some really positive stuff that almost harks back to when the industry was enjoying prosperity before the economy took it’s dive in 2008. What I do also hope is that many others of you out there have found this year to be far better than previous years and that their expectations too have also been exceeded!