Adrian Buttress Managing Director Permaroof UK

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree 2020 was a difficult and unpredictable year for every business. Adrian Buttress, managing director of EPDM rubber roofing specialists Permaroof and the wider Permagroup, puts forward his predictions for the building industry in 2021 and discusses the different opportunities that his business has had to seize to weather the storm of 2020.

Well, 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.

For example, screen to screen selling has been a rather unexpected success. Speaking to customers and placing orders through Zoom was unthinkable before – but it works. It means that the team is saving around 60 hours of travel time per week. This can now be channelled into generating more business and supporting customers. Not to mention meaning a carbon reduction due to less car use.

New products were added to our portfolio, including a disinfectant spray to help customers work safely. At the same time, we adapted our offering to work closely with modular companies for the first time, which included supplying fast flat roofing solutions to four emergency NHS projects during the first month of lockdown.

Investment in the team to enable clear communication to both staff and customers has been crucial, so we recruited a new marketing co-ordinator to push out a formal communications strategy. We also partnered with a mindset and coaching programme for our sales team, which has brought them up to date and in-line with current sales strategies such as the previously mentioned selling screen to screen. The mindset side has helped the team adapt and understand our customers’ challenges, helping us to offer bespoke solutions.

This year has undoubtedly bought our team closer together. We have worked as a single unit and kept an eye on our teammates – looking for signs of people feeling down and supporting them wherever we could. This company culture of looking out for one another is fantastic for all of us and something that we want to continue from now on.

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.

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Permaroof UK® Ltd
Unit 1
Westway
Cotes Park Industrial Estate
Alfreton
Derbyshire DE55 4QJ

Tel: 01773 608 839
Fax: 01773 608 408
Email: Click here
Registration No. 4109502
VAT No. 764 2785 00
Permaroof (UK) LTD

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Permaroof UK Limited are committed to working within the GDPR (2018) guidelines. Here at Permaroof UK Limited, we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to administer your account and to provide the products and services you have requested from us.

However, from time-to-time we would like to contact you with details of other products, services or information we feel are relevant to you. If you consent to us contacting you for this purpose, please tick to say how you would like us to contact you:

EmailPhoneText

We promise we will never pass on your details to any 3rd party.

Permaroof UK® Ltd
Unit 1
Westway
Cotes Park Industrial Estate
Alfreton
Derbyshire DE55 4QJ

Tel: 01773 608 839
Fax: 01773 608 408
Email: Click here
Registration No. 4109502
VAT No. 764 2785 00
Permaroof (UK) LTD

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