Taking stock of the year
The aftermath of Christmas is often a time of reflection. Once the frenzy of present buying, parties and family visits has finally receded, the holidays provide an opportunity to take stock of the year and what we have accomplished. As a business, we are a still few months away from our year end in April but that hasn’t stopped us reviewing our progress – and we have a lot to be proud of!
By the end of Q4 we will have achieved our highest turnover in the company’s 29-year history – our sales have grown both geographically and in new market sectors. All key business measures are looking good. But I believe FB Chain’s success this year is based on far more than financial performance. The real success is to be seen in our people, the way we work together and how we give back to the community.
Our second ever apprentice finished the practical section of his training this year and his knowledge and skills have improved vastly since he joined us 18 months ago. Our first apprentice, now in his third year, has also come on leaps and bounds and has developed into a key team member. Meanwhile, a colleague who joined as an office junior a few years ago is now the go-to-person for a number of important tasks. Seeing the young people grow into their roles this year has been a gratifying experience for all of us. Of course, this is not to be outdone by the achievements of many of our long-standing staff, who have also learnt new skills and ways of thinking and working. The development of our people has long been an important measure of success for our business and will remain as such in the future.
In July we shipped more products than any month in our company history. We were absolutely thrilled by this but it unfortunately came at a time when sickness and holidays left us short staffed. Always ready for a challenge, however, the FB team worked closely together and took on extra tasks to ensure seamless operation. The added pressure really brought out the best in each team member – and as a unit, we gained a better understanding and respect for what we all do.
Every month that we hit our financial targets, we allocate a certain amount of money to our social fund. We then use this to fund to help local charities and groups. This year we have supported a local school, hospice, charity dance night, and youth group. The highlight this year was helping the New Youth Foundation, a music group which runs weekly music workshops on a local housing estate for young people. Initially, we assisted them in buying a second-hand laptop (you don’t need instruments to make music these days!). But when they invited us along to hear what it had helped them do – which was very impressive – we learnt they had a small wish list of kit (less than £500), which they were still struggling to buy and would allow them to expand the group and make even more professional-sounding music. Naturally, we couldn’t help but oblige so six weeks later we were back again to hear 20 young people perform “The Chain Song” at the group’s open evening, which they had composed in our honour. The joy on their faces was worth every penny.
I don’t believe that we run our business in a massively different way to many other companies but I strongly believe that a large number of the very small things we do make a huge difference to us, our customers and the community we operate in.