Colin Stevens
Graham Vincent

Member Article

Behind the Business with Better Bathrooms

In the latest instalment of our Behind the Business series, we talk to Colin Stevens, founder and leader of award-winning company Better Bathrooms.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

Huge growth means staff development is now a major focus to ensure that all employees, especially existing and new managers aren’t overwhelmed with their positions. To be the best, I believe you must learn from the best; therefore we recently flew in leadership guru, Lee Cockerell, former Vice President of Operation at Walt Disney World Resort. His two day seminar helped inspire the Better Bathrooms team and teach essential skills in creating a world class leadership team. Walt Disney for me is such an inspiring entrepreneur.

We continuously monitor customer feedback to indentify poor areas, with delivery recently proving weak. To take back control from this outsourced area, we began testing our own livery service across the North West, North East and Midlands. Their huge success means five branded vans now operate seven days a week, with plans now in place for a larger nationwide fleet.

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Our award winning achievements over the past 12 months were a major highlight, which included snapping up Entrepreneur of the Year at both the National Business and Growing Business awards as well as the North West Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. To be nominated against such impressive business leaders was an achievement in itself, yet to be awarded the top accolade was a dream come true. Better Bathrooms has achieved great success and it’s fantastic that others recognise the
team’s hard work.

Other achievements also included Business of the Year titles at the Wigan, Warrington and Manchester Business Awards. With our three North West showrooms based within each of these areas, these gave recognition of our strong regional success.

What is your biggest focus for the coming year?

We’ve aggressive plans in place to propel growth over the next 3-5 years. With a nationwide presence created from our hugely innovative online store, www.betterbathrooms.com, we want to match this in our multi-channel approach by branching out showrooms nationwide. Starting out as an online business has developed the web mentality needed to thrive in traditional stores, with service, quality and pricing being core aspects to Better Bathrooms.

If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?

It’s difficult to pinpoint, with so many factors aiding success. Definitely be disruptive; we’ve a USP that takes market share from competitor failings to help attract increased customers and drive growth.

Ensure your margin is protected with a sustainable approach. Too many businesses knock 10% off the price when in fact they don’t make this on the bottom line. Be realistic with prices as continued discounts don’t make what is needed for sustained growth.

Look outside your industry for inspiration. We took ideas from ASDA and Tesco when increasing operating hours from the traditional 6pm to 10pm close, with this simple move increasing sales by 40%.

Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in your region or generally, and where your organisation sits within it?

The volatile state of the high street has given retailers the opportunity to be innovative and identify failings in a bid to compete with the fast paced online market, as without change they’ll simply cease to exist.

The internet is a fantastic medium for all types of retailers and services able to operate successfully, with its competitive nature meaning customer experience will only become more enhanced and personalised to our needs.

Despite online success, I strongly believe in a multi-channel approach. Customer experience is at the heart of our business which means giving customers the same quality experience both in store and online.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Graham Vincent .

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