Allan Blackburn column

Owner of GB Antiques Allan Blackburn.
Owner of GB Antiques Allan Blackburn.
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The antiques year end for us here at GB Antiques Centre is the end of summer and this is the time of year when we sit down and look at our business very closely.

We call it our “Annual Health Check” and we look at how well we’ve been doing, what things have gone well and also look at what’s not gone well at all.

It’s a chance to sit down with the management team and assess the year to see how to improve things going forward; how we make more of the good things and cut out the bad.

This meeting produces an action plan for all the team and we try to put realistic timings on the improvements we want to make or things we want to change.

It is a lot more likely to happen if we give ourselves deadlines and not just put them on our “wish list”.

Then we look at the financial performance of the business.

We examine how close we were to the targets we had set ourselves from the previous year.

We look at where we can save money (if anywhere at all) in the coming year and produce an annual realistic budget going forward.

The same applies to income and sales.

We talk to our team of specialists at the centre, to find out what’s been selling well, how the foreign trade is going and if there’s been any trends in sales. All sorts of things affect the trends; fashion, the economy and programmes on the television from antiques shows to DIY and make over shows.

These programmes often inspire people to change their homes and they come to us looking for good, reasonably priced, second hand furniture.

Finally, it’s the staff’s turn to be put under the microscope.

Their performance must improve in line with the company’s performance and we can help them with training, delegating and providing them with a good working environment.

If all these are positive then the company passes its “health check” and we have no reason to call in the “company doctor”.

We must be doing things reasonably well as we move into our 25th year of successful trading.