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2012 – Still Time to Make a Change?

Listers Directors2011 was a difficult year and one that very few industries were immune to. You couldn’t avoid the negative press and the constant doom merchants on the TV telling us the sad state of our economy. Big names like Habitat, Oddbins and Focus DIY to name but a few, failed to change to this new and more difficult market and either closed their doors or looked for support as the economy continued its decline.

Within the Glass and Glazing Industry we saw several high profile and long established companies fall by the wayside. You have seen similar some competitors in your own areas close or continue to struggle. You may even be feeling a little vulnerable yourself to the relentless pressures that we face. So what can you do to ensure that you don’t fail like the rest?

The first thing is to recognise some of the key reasons why business fail. Many of the high street causalities had simply failed to adapt or change to the new conditions or to their customers shifting needs. Confronting the challenges and making changes to your business is vital to ensure survival and continuity.

One good example of a business who loves ‘change’ is Lister Trade Frames. They have been around for over 35 years now and have never phoenixed. They manufacture PVCu and Aluminium windows and doors for the Trade and Commercial markets and they are well known for their innovative forward thinking approach to our industry. 2011 saw them continue to invest in new products, services, business support and technical innovations.

So is the recession not affecting Listers?

“The recession has affected us just like everyone else,” Says Mark Warren, Listers Managing Director, “but there’s a saying; ‘don’t wait for a storm to blow over – learn to dance in the rain’ and we’re determined to keep on dancing.”

That comment underlines the simple fact that your attitude can make or break your future. Continual change, updates and improvements are vital in the current market. But they have to be the right changes. While some companies slash their costs, staff wages, marketing and maybe lower their quality and their prices, they will continue to struggle and fail. Why? Because this is short-termism.

Businesses such as Listers recognise that to be successful there is a sensible balance to be had between lowering costs and increasing investment in customers. These businesses continue to market themselves even more aggressively while introducing new products and services which differentiate them from their competitors, thus gaining more customers.

Mark says that “You have to stay positive. Just because there is less disposable income in the economy, doesn’t mean that there’s no disposable income. It just means you have to work harder to get your share. And that means you have to keep adjusting your business approach and you have to keep on changing what you do and how you do it.”

Lower and lower pricing is the downward spiral to death for any business. Adding value can bring much greater and long lasting success. So if you’re feeling a little apprehensive about the year ahead, that in itself is a start in the process of change… You just have to ask yourself what you are going to change to make 2012 a good year for your business and your customers. And you don’t need to do it alone. If there’s a business you admire who is having success, why not ask them for some mentoring or advice? You may be surprised to find that most good businesses are more than happy to help others.

Listers have shown that positive management, pro-active decision making and a great workforce, ensure a successful business can be maintained in difficult circumstances. Be sure that you make your 2012 a successful business year; be determined to make positive changes for success.

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