‘I’ve learnt my lesson,’ admits ex-Silverdale boss

Business growth and strategy specialist Mark Prince has warned KBB businesses that they must be open to change in order to succeed.

Speaking exclusively to kbbreview, Prince (pictured), who jointly ran ceramics brand Silverdale Bathrooms before it went into administration in 2013, expressed his concerns over the future of the KBB industry if businesses aren’t prepared to alter their approach.

He said that, with the growth of the internet and ‘oversupply’ of products putting pressure on the market, retailers and manufacturers could not continue doing things in “exactly the same way”, just because it’s “the way it’s always been done”, and not expect to feel the effects of a changing market.

“I learnt a lot of valuable lessons after attempting to run Silverdale,” he said. “Doing things the ‘traditional’ way, the way they’ve always been done, is easy.”

But, the key to success, said Prince, is the willingness of manufacturers and retailers to break into a different thought process in order to change and stand out.

“AO.com, for example, is a business that’s done precisely that. There’s a group of people that have broken out of that ‘traditional retail model’ completely. They’ve recognised the internet as a growing sales platform, they’ve identified their target customers and they service them exactly right, in a way that nobody else in the industry does.”

Reflecting on his time as joint MD of Silverdale, and the company’s failure in the market, Prince also encouraged manufacturers and retailers to gain a clear understanding of their target market in order to succeed.

“A fundamental issue was, as it turned out, we [Silverdale] didn’t know our customers well enough,” he said. “We believed we were, undoubtedly, the highest-quality ceramics manufacturer in the industry and, therefore, just believed that everyone would buy the product on that basis. That turned out not to be the case.

“This is something I preach to businesses I work with now. Know your target audience. Know what their priorities are too. Very often you think you have a good idea, or new product, but where does that fit into the priorities of your customers?”

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