At last, some good news for small business owners!
In these times of austerity, the good news is that larger companies and retailers are actively looking for British suppliers – which means great opportunities, not only for manufacturers but for all small businesses.
John Lewis has recently announced that it is launching a ‘Made in Britain’ campaign – searching for UK businesses that can supply it with goods. According to the Daily Telegraph, in the past year alone John Lewis has added 75 British companies to it’s supplier base.
John Lewis is not alone. Sir Philip Green has said he will be giving more work to British businesses via Topshop. Bathrooms.com, DFS and Hornby are also moving towards purchasing from Britain.
Ian Monk of Bathrooms.com is quoted as saying that the benefits of buying in Britain had very positive implications. Lead times reduced from six months to six weeks by moving production to the UK and that partnering with firms in the UK had made product development ‘a lot faster and a lot less painful’.
This repatriation of production is a fantastic opportunity for British manufacturers and one to be grasped with both hands. But surprisingly, some businesses seem to have no appetite for for taking on a new way of working. Retailers complain that British firms do not respond to inquiries, are unwilling to provide quotations and do not have (and are unwilling or unable to recruit) the skill set or staff required.
For those smart business owners that are willing to embrace marketing their wares to companies that have been purchasing from China, who are willing to be fast, flexible and cost effective, the business is there for the taking.
Interestingly, consumers are also looking for British goods. Winemaker, Chapel Down Wines, based in Kent have found that idiosyncratic English wines are becoming more popular. According to the Daily Telegraph’s Business Club, the company has gone from selling 25,000 bottles of wine at £5.99 (retail price) to 250,000 bottles at £18.99. (There is also a case here for understanding how to set your prices, methinks!)
Of course, the ‘Made in Britain’ phase could change in the future – if the strength of sterling changes and it’s once again cheaper to import. But, as they say, the only constant is change. So, the sensible way forward is to embrace it so you don’t get left behind.
Just now, where there’s a definite movement towards more understanding of getting what you pay for, it’s time to go with the market and promote your business in a way that resonates with your customer base.
With that in mind, it’s worth looking at your own business to see how this trend could be used in your own marketing. Even in non manufacturing companies, I can see the ‘Made in Britain’ could be used in promotion – all you need is vision and the desire to grow.
So, what about your business? Can you see how your business could profit from this latest trend? Why not have a think about how ‘Made in Britain’ might help you to tell your story to potential customers and how you can use the changes going on right now, to sell more?
If you are unsure how to exploit this marketing opportunity for profit in your specific business area, please contact me – I may just be able to help!