Mick Williams: ruthless on price.

Williams reveals trade secrets

Published:  03 June, 2010

HAMPSHIRE: Plumbers' merchant Williams & Co,whose boss was the driving force behind the recent boiler scrappage scheme, is the latest company to feature in the Telegraph Business Club 'Masterclass - Secrets of Success' video series.

The Telegraph series is seeking to identify business success stories in these difficult times, and the video highlights the way that Williams & Co have concentrated on their strengths to deliver consistent growth at a time when many of their competitors are posting double-digit decreases in turnover and collapsing profits.

In the video, managing director Mick Williams explains how the company has managed the transition from small family business to a major regional player over the last 10 years.

"The business focuses ruthlessly on offering major brands at a single low price-point to a core market of trade customers," said Mr Williams.

"Despite banning retail customers, and ignoring brands which did not fit the trading style, the company has grown from five branches turning over £3.5m in 2000 to 15 branches turning over £15m in 2010.

Commercial director Ray Stafford outlined the strategy. "It is all about simplicity and scalability. Everything we do supports our key goal of offering the trade customer a brand they trust, at a low transparent price, and getting the service right first time.

"Where we used to look for new locations where there was no competition, now we look for towns with four or five competitors, because we know that our business model will take market share from them.

"This remarkable growth has been achieved with no borrowing, and with virtually no growth in internal management structures, which remain completely flat. When you have a tier of middle management, your message ends up like 'Chinese Whispers'."

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