Mike Murray, Managing Director – Land of Beds
As an entrepreneurial family business, we have seen our fair share of ups and downs – rallying through two recessions in our 40-plus years of existence.
We see major issues as an opportunity to improve and evolve; Brexit is no different.
Family Business United says that there are over three million family businesses across the UK who employ around 19 million people and generate significant tax revenues. At times of upheaval, being a family business can be a great strength – providing stability to the UK families we employ and the communities we serve. An added advantage is being able to react quickly to market forces and to introduce agile solutions to problems.
Well before the nation cast its vote on 23 June, we had accepted that how we do business needed to change so we can continue to deliver excellent value to our customers. We had, for more than a year, been developing a new mobile responsive website (www.landofbeds.co.uk) in-house, as well as investing in a brand-new purpose-built warehouse facility to capitalise on bulk buying discounts from our suppliers.
While the value of the pound continues to fluctuate and some global manufacturers are reportedly attempting to pass the cost of their losses on to supermarket customers, I am pleased to say that we enjoyed record footfall in our independent Cheshire-based stores in both September and October. Consumer confidence seems high, with customers continuing to invest in a good night’s sleep.
People want to buy British products from British companies. As we sell beds and mattresses almost exclusively from UK bed manufacturers including Hypnos (who have a warrant to supply the royal family) we are in a great position to respond to those market forces.
My advice to others is to look closely at your business and its supply chain to identify new ways to doing things; to bring in more efficient processes that allow you run leanly and profitably, while also offering a great customer service experience.
This is going to be more important than ever, as lots of suppliers have already put their prices up due to pressure from abroad. It will be interesting to see if retailers can withstand the margin pressures and who will need to pass the costs on to the consumer; however, the consumer will largely benefit from this most in the short term as companies fight to stay competitive.
But on the whole, so far so good. We are continuing to advocate a working culture that supports our people to enjoy positive health and wellbeing - critical qualities for resilience in times of uncertainty. In the short term, we’ll soon be launching our winter sale to offer even greater value for money in this post-Brexit climate. As you would expect from an EN Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2016 finalist, we’re pressing on with our plans to open 10 strategically located showrooms countrywide by 2020 – building in flexibility to adapt as and when the longer-term Brexit plan is more clearly defined by Parliament.