Lessons From 10 Years in Business
To all those business owners and managers out there, you know how it is. Running a business can be extremely rewarding but it can also be a lot of hard work, and today’s business world is ever-changing. OFW’s directors have been in the furniture game for 10 years now, and have learned a few things along the way so we thought we’d share; here are some of their nuggets of wisdom:
1. Adopt online as a strategy
It's fair to say any business that doesn’t have an online offering in today’s market will struggle. Today it's an expectation that your customers will have a functioning website and this acts as the all important shop window for your business, where prospective customers learn about and make assumptions about you. In our case it has been a great strategy to adopt an online platform early in our business lifecycle to get reach right across New Zealand, and this has proven especially beneficial in challenging times with Covid last year.
2. Create a trustworthy brand
A brand is described as the outward expression of your company and how it looks, feels and speaks to people. Aside from the initial work of creating a logo, colours and name, a brand is so much more than that. Building a brand that people recognise and trust takes years sometimes, but the key for us was to be consistent and ensure our brand stood for something. And for us it is about providing the best office furniture solutions for our customers to work productively and comfortably, delivered to customers with exceptional service.
3. Automate our systems for business efficiencies
In a nutshell, digital transformation, and how to ensure your business survives and thrives in today’s digital economy. This topic covers technology, data, process and organisational change, and how these things can culminate to save time, manpower and money. As we’ve grown, getting these elements right was crucial to still be able to deliver value to our customers in a consistent way.
4. Deliver and put right any issues that may occur
Putting our customers at the heart of what we do is our ethos. So we want to make it as easy as possible for them and do our best to immediately fix any problems that arise. And we believe any organisation that wants to succeed needs to do the same for their customers.
5. Enter business awards to gain recognition
When you do well, it's occasionally ok to sing from the rooftops about it, after all this is part of the brand building we talked about earlier. It helps people find out who you are, what you do, who your team is, and where you sit in the market. A little bit of self-effacing PR never hurt anyone, and it can help get your company noticed in a crowded market.
6. Work through a rigorous process to make our business resilient
Our resilience along with many other organisations’ was tested during 2020. However during this time of uncertainty and prior to that in general terms, we maintained a forward-thinking approach and didn’t take our foot off the pedal. We found ways to create opportunities to tap into the needs of the needs of a new customer, including creating a range of home office packages that customers could purchase easily to quickly set themselves up from home. Resilience is all about having a “plan B”, not putting all your eggs in one basket and being flexible to change.
7. Move up our supply chain
OFW is proud to sell a number of great brands and we have some excellent supplier relationships in place. We have many successful and sought after brands such as Buro, which come from respected local suppliers, however it was important for us to also have our own brand. Enter Mobel - our very own “house” brand which still offers great design, quality and value. Mobel products came about after our directors travelled internationally and set up these relationships directly. What this gave us was more flexibility, and meant that we weren’t entirely dependent on certain suppliers products and the impacts on their businesses.
8. Employ good people
This one is pretty clear, you really want to surround yourself with people that can get the job done for you without needing to be micromanaged. Our team prides itself on being self-motivated and empowered to get things done in a solution-focused manner, which for our directors means they can let go of the reins and the business still works as if they were there.
9. Create an enjoyable culture and have fun
When work is fun and meaningful, everything changes; employees want to come into the office, they put in extra effort without being asked to, well being is boosted and stress is decreased. The OFW team regularly has social events, celebrations and daily laughs. And with a strong company culture, you naturally attract good employees who are more loyal and motivated. We also ensure that our company values are communicated to the team regularly and embodied by everyone.
Wherever you are in your business journey, we’re here to help you grow and help your work be great.
Check out our range of office furniture for your home office or commercial space, contact our team if you have any questions, and make this year your most productive yet!