Last week, DGB wrote about whether the installation market has peaked already, due to FENSA figures showing a worryingly small number of registered installations. More likely explanations for the drop in numbers, he says, include the recent legislation changes within the industry and a potential knock-on effect from the dip in construction output.

The market is unlikely to be saturated yet, especially given that the total number of installations in 2013 was down 27% on the number for 2007. There is still room for improvement (if you don’t mind the pun). But it is definitely a possibility for the future and we should be thinking seriously about what preparations to take.

The economy is on the up, but along the way the market will go through bumps and downs, so how can you future proof your business to survive whatever the economy brings?

Diversify Your Product Range

The simple answer is to expand your market. If there’s too much competition in your area for uPVC windows and you find you’re constantly battling for leads, adding another product to your range – something different to what your competitors are offering – will see interest in your products rise.

Over the last year or so we’ve seen the industry grow. This year is the first year that consumers feel confident enough to part with their money for a home improvement. Targeting the high end market is a great way to start increasing profit margins and investing in your business, such as offering your customers aluminium bi-folds or bespoke glass roofs. Discounts worked well in the recession, but it’s not a strategy for times of growth.

Other ways of standing out from the crowd include adding more choice to your current range. Now more than ever, homeowners are experimenting with colour, so offering a full range of colour options, such as dual colouring, is a great USP. The same works for hardware options too.

Export Abroad

For fabricators, a brave and potentially lucrative move would be to export abroad. There are plenty of opportunities outside of the UK, where contractors are looking for quality made products and new technologies from industry leading British companies.

Take advantage of the demand for British Made products and seek out receptive foreign markets to expand your supply service. At TWR, we started exporting our aluminium products to Spain in 2011, with a shop in Murcia selling windows and other home improvement products. Although Spain is not known for its booming economy, our products were so popular that we’ve opened another two shops in the region.

With #entrepreneur and #business being the buzzwords of the moment, there are several private and governmental bodies offering grants, schemes and other funding to expand you operations, either in the UK or abroad. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has provided TWR with the support and knowledge to expand even further afield to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and construction hub. Read more about our experiences exporting bi-folds for the Nigerian construction sector.

How are you planning to futureproof your business? Would you ever consider exporting abroad? Feel free to leave a comment below or let us know on Twitter: @TWRBifolds.

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