Following a difficult and unpredictable year for every business, Adrian Buttress, MD of Permaroof and Permagroup, puts forward his predictions for the building industry in 2021 and discusses the challenges his business has had to overcome to weather the storm of 2020.
What a year 2020 has been; I termed it as the year of the unexpected. There has never been a more testing time for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.
Realistically, I think we will be in the same sort of trading environment for at least the first quarter of 2021. Hospital admissions will need to remain low and protecting the NHS will remain a priority. So, I expect that we will continue to work around a number of restrictions – but we should now all be better prepared.
Brexit will possibly take the media attention in a different direction, giving us something else to talk about and to prepare for as an industry. However, I would like to think that by the end of first quarter, many businesses will feel that they have adapted and will be seeing the benefits of having rolled out their newly formulated plans and strategies. After all, we will be coming out of the gloomy winter period and the sunshine will return – I feel that this will be the turning point for building and construction.
For those in the construction industry, the show must go on. I think Brexit and the pandemic will have acted almost like a coiled spring for our sector. Once something as close to normality resumes, I think we are in for a large boom of business.
As a business owner who also works with hundreds of contractors and installers across the country; my advice is to keep on learning and adapting. Roll out your new plans for 2021 and simply go for it.
It’s also important to take as many lessons as possible from the challenges we faced in 2020. At the time of the first lockdown, we didn’t know what to expect. We had to filter out the noise of the media, quickly rewrite our business plans, raise funds for the unknown and rework all our numbers; all whilst adapting the business so it was as safe as it could be for our team and customers.
For some businesses it has been a disaster. For others, it has been a record year. Thankfully, we were one of the lucky ones and experienced unprecedented demand on our product range due to the lockdown and people having spare time to do DIY. This success was also certainly down to speed of response to Covid-19, investment in an already solid team, and diversification into new services and products.
We’ve seized many opportunities to change our business during a relatively short space of time; all to duck and dive the obstacles that have been thrown at us. In some cases, it has advanced the growth plans we have in place before March 2020.
While the pandemic has proven difficult for many businesses, many positives have come out of it too. I am fully expecting 2021 to be turbulent but believe that the building sector is now well prepared and ready to take on the challenges that will hopefully be less of a surprise than they were in 2020.