• Keeping ahead of the pack

     

    As Entrepreneur of the Year at the Growing Business Awards and at the National Business Awards, Colin Stevens, founder of Better Bathrooms, has demonstrated high performance as both a start-up and a multi-channel market leader.

    Performance isn’t about profit. It’s about keeping your business ahead of the pack. A static business isn’t at the top of its game.

     

    Over 11 years, I’ve grown Better Bathrooms from an eBay-based business to a multi-channel, nationwide retailer.  I started out selling golf equipment, but wanted a product with greater margins. I chose taps on my mother’s recommendation; she worked for a manufacturer and gave me useful contacts to get started. Her advice was sound – you should always listen to your mother! You should certainly be open to advice from people you trust.

     

    I’ve scaled up the business, diversifying the product range and opening showrooms in Wigan, Warrington and Manchester. We’re now the UK’s largest independent retailer of bathrooms and tiles, selling across the country and increasingly overseas.

     

    My key entrepreneurial attribute is a disruptive nature. Better Bathrooms changed the industry. Our structure cut out the middle men and enabled us to be more competitive, and we moved away from traditional ‘office hours’ operations to bring greater convenience. We delivered change that appealed to customers, and continue to do so because they are the real judges of our performance.

     

    My question is always ‘how do we do more?’ I look at how I’d grow the business if money was no object, and find a way – whether that’s introducing a new product line, opening more stores, investing in advertising, or acting on opportunities in new markets. 

     

    Of course, change is tougher to implement now. Decision-making was quicker when it was just me but the consultation process is valuable and the outcome is better, if you surround yourself with the right people. I still like to move fast, though. Some find rapid change chaotic, but I love a bit of chaos. Without it you’re not really challenging yourself - and you must if you want to excel. 

     

    This industry had become too comfortable in the way things had always been done, and that created opportunities for me. By the same token, sustaining success means watching out for the new disrupters! You never know who is coming up behind you, looking to emulate you or exploit weaknesses. You must move faster. 

9/17/2019 3:32:29 PM