Quickfire with Stuart Dantzic

Stuart Dantzic is MD of Caribbean Blinds which designs, manufactures and supplies external shading systems.
Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021
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Stuart oversees the entire business and supports his brother Brad in all operational elements, working to a steadfast mantra that “being good isn’t good enough”.

We spent five minutes with Stuart and asked him some questions about running a business.

How do you engage and motivate employees and keep them?

By ensuring they understand who you are, what you do and the values of their own personal role. Engage with them on a personal and business level, provide job flexibility and ensure they know your door is always open for discussion. Also provide opportunities and actively encourage them to progress in your company.

How do you maintain and enhance margins?

By understanding all costs associated with what you produce and what you need to turnover on a weekly basis to, (a) cover costs, (b) make a profit and (c), to hit your yearly targets. This enables you to make relevant and immediate adjustments to maintain and enhance margins.

How can I put my prices up and keep my customers?

Clearly communicating to clients well in advance of any price increases (1 month +) is key, as this enables clients to purchase at current prices and avoid the increase. Distributors can do the same which keeps their clients happy too.

I’ve got this great idea – what do I do with it?

Undertake thorough market research to ensure there is market for the product/service, to understand any potential competitors, and to estimate the potential earning from the idea – both short and longer term – to validate the opportunity. Put together a plan of action covering the deployment of the idea including a timeframe, who needs to be involved, deadlines for launch and, most importantly, the launch itself.  

How can you protect your reputation and enhance it?

You have to be consistent in your messaging and communications, with honesty and integrity at the foundation of everything you do. Encourage and listen to feedback and implement change based on it. Surround yourself and network with likeminded businesses and individuals. Opportunities and potential partnerships will arise, and you will be heard by a wider audience, subsequently widening your reputation.

How do I manage distributors and sales agents?

Have a clear process and ensure this is communicated to distributors. Deliver on your promises. Consistency results in long-term and fruitful partnerships. Your long-term dealers become (almost) self-sufficient and your margins get enhanced.

How can I shut off from the business and manage the work / life balance more effectively?

Take an hour each day to do something you enjoy e.g. going for a walk, undertaking a hobby such as fitness etc. Time away from the business will provide a feel-good factor, as well as affording you the chance to re-set and clear your thoughts, allowing you to be more productive when you return to work.

How can you cut costs without negatively impacting your business?

Regularly look at your processes for undertaking orders and find ways to reduce the time it takes for all elements and involve key team members in this process. Investing in automation of some description can reduce overheads, improve efficiency and further enhance margins.

How do you move your business to the next step? 

Bring people in at management level with associated experiences, either from the company or from a similar industry, to oversee the day to day running of the company. This is often the hardest element of growth for a business owner as it means effectively giving control to someone else. But delegation will allow you the time to focus on working on the business and developing it for the future.

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