What were the drivers for you wanting to work with a business coach?
The retail business has gone through a very difficult time in recent years. The recession of 2008 hit hard and impacted furniture sales massively. We’re a multi generation family business and we’ve been trading for 74 years. We were looking to reignite energy into the business, the coaching really adds structure and a support network. It also gives us a wider view of our business and has enabled us to focus on key areas to develop and improve.
Why did you choose REACH Business Coaching?
We were invited to a REACH seminar by our firm of solicitors who were partnering with Jas and Angela at one of their events. The content was really very good – it was all the right stuff to help us control our time and our business and make us more profitable. I made reams of notes. I had my Financial Director with me at the time and we thought we could implement everything we’d learned. But we weren’t getting it done. So, 12-months later we went to another seminar. I remember saying to Jas that the information he shares is absolutely great, but very difficult to execute on your own.
What were some of your specific challenges and outcomes?
Our margins were very tight. Some of the products we were selling were also available to other retailers. It’s also been a very difficult ten years with the housing market. The drivers for people buying new furniture is usually when they move to a new house – but when the recession hit, people were talking about staying put and renovating one room at a time.
Another challenge was our customer base demographics. Our loyal customer base was typically aged between 55 to 65. We knew we needed to attract a younger generation and delight them, so that they would purchase more products from us over the next ten years. Jas worked with us to improve our customer segmentation and come away from a reliance on sales and discounting, which is so rife in our industry.
Being a family business, there had been a lot of investment from family members over the years, and naturally we’re keen to see a return on that. So, there was a lot of pressure sitting with us. In the two years we’ve worked with Jas, our gross profit margin has increased by over 10%, which is great for us – especially because of the notoriously fickle industry we’re in. We realised too, that it was important for our team to share our vision for the future of the business. So, we set up a team training day with Jas to help them understand the journey we were on and to get them on board. This was absolutely the right thing to do.
What is it about Jas you’re buying into?
I feel like I can connect with him. He’s a family man with two kids and he’s got his work life balance, values and ethos right, which completely resonates with me. I have a young family too and so do some of our other directors, so we were constantly juggling our time and family commitments with the challenges of running a large family business. I trust Jas – especially after our alignment conversation. Everything felt right.