On 27 September, leading dealers from the north of England packed into a room at The Edwardian Manchester for the inaugural Office Power Dealer Growth Summit. There was one mission in mind – to find development opportunities.
Before industry veteran Steve Haworth delivered his perspective as the guest speaker, Simon Drakeford, CEO of Office Power’s parent company EO Group, set the tone for the summit. With a focus on revitalising the industry, Drakeford made it clear the event aimed to instil a renewed sense of purpose and direction for expansion. He acknowledged the challenges but emphasised the untapped prospects in this multibillion-pound market.
Following this, Office Power Managing Director Mark Heath served as host and guide. Setting the stage for the day’s discussions, he shared his core concepts for achieving growth:
- Build a solid base: A robust customer foundation is important. Embrace the digital landscape for greater efficiency and scalability.
- Principles never go out of fashion: The timeless fundamentals of hard work, customer needs analysis, and a strong sell-through strategy are as relevant today as ever.
- Expand from your base: Leverage the existing client base to explore new market opportunities, particularly as the finance industry begins to bring staff back to the office.
- Play to your strengths: Offer unparalleled value and experience, harnessing the unique strengths that larger competitors can’t match.
A call to action
Next came Steve Haworth’s moment. He presented a compelling challenge not just to those in the room but to the wider industry: How can the dealer channel maximise its competitive advantage? He pointed out that major global brands have repeatedly failed to emulate the unique capabilities of dealers. It was a potent reminder to the audience of the unparalleled service and experience they can offer to buyers.
Haworth took the audience on a journey familiar to many dealers nationwide and questioned longstanding beliefs about the effectiveness of time spent buying and growing their respective businesses, taking a potshot at the endless silver bullets offered as the route to expansion. Building on this theme to nods in the room, he outlined the step to transition from being mere owners preoccupied with operational duties to adopting the proactive stance of a ‘Growth Activist’.
Haworth also spoke about the importance of engaging with brands and OEMs to forge beneficial partnerships. He encouraged dealers to exploit existing growth areas and find the unique “thing” that sets them apart in the market. “And by the way,” he added, leaving the audience hanging on his words, “this is not just advice; it’s a call to action.”
Closing the event – and arguably the highlight – were several roundtables, each focusing on a core topic. Each one solicited a lively discussion from the room, with opinions and experiences shared freely for the betterment of everyone.
Unlocking growth: Key takeaways from the roundtables
Diversification: A double-edged sword
“Diversification is not just about expanding your product lines; it’s about understanding your margins and making data-driven decisions”
- Customer-centric approach: Tailoring product offerings based on customer feedback ensures alignment and drives sales.
- Financial acumen: A strong grasp of profit and loss statements is crucial for evaluating new ventures.
- Data-driven decision-making: Real-time insights enable agile strategy adjustments.
- Dilution of core values: Straying too far from your core business can confuse clients and dilute existing brand identity.
- Reputational risk: Quality must not be compromised when entering new markets.
Tech: The catalyst and the challenge
“Technology is not just a tool; it’s a strategy enabler”
- Enhanced efficiency: Streamlined operations lead to quicker service delivery.
- Real-time data insights: Data analytics facilitate informed decision-making.
- Tech literacy: The ageing population may struggle with new technology.
- Insufficient staff training: Employees need adequate training to maximise the benefits of additional tech.
Sustainability: The future is green
“Sustainability is not a trend; it’s a business imperative”
- Increasing demand: Younger generations are more eco-conscious, offering a growing market for sustainable products.
- Government incentives: Financial benefits are often available for companies adopting more sustainable business practices.
- Intense competition: The market is crowded, requiring differentiation.
- Regulatory compliance: Keeping up with evolving sustainability standards poses issues.
As our sector navigates through challenges and opportunities, the key is to balance innovation with core values. Whether it’s diversifying product lines, integrating new technologies, or adopting sustainable practices, the focus should always be on delivering unparalleled value and experience.
Following the final Summit in London at the end of October, the team at Office Power will compile a comprehensive report that will encapsulate the collective wisdom and insights of all the dealers who participated in these events. This report aims to serve as a roadmap for the industry, highlighting key possibilities, hindrances and actionable strategies for growth.
To register for the London Growth Summit, visit: https://meet.officepower.net/london-growth-summit