Now and the future
We are so close to the changes in Rohan that I sometimes wonder whether they are as obvious to you as they are to us. Sarah has asked me to look back over the recent past and give you all a view on the future. I will leave the product to Tim and take a look at the business.
We have spent the last three years bringing Rohan back to meeting the needs of its core users. I think we have largely succeeded both in product and in service. Do you agree? At the same time we have restored the business to profit from the losses we made in 2008.
Our job now is a delicate one. We have to grow the business while improving the things that make it special. As I hope you have noticed we have opened a number of shops this year. There are now sixty places where Rohan is available directly from us plus, of course, the web and our excellent customer service in Milton Keynes. Obviously we need to recruit new users but the practical impact should be to improve our service to existing users as well. We withdrew from our wholesale business to focus on direct contact with our users and now have a portfolio of shops, both owned and with sympathetic franchisees, which should deliver a high level of service. The number of shops will grow modestly but Rohan is not a brand that is right for everyone and we have no intention of changing that simply to reach a mass audience.
Personally I spend as much time as I can talking to our users. I do that because it is very easy for someone in my position to lose touch. I am really interested in feedback and would welcome it – good and bad – on this forum as well as in person. I might not always agree but I will always listen.
As to the future, my personal commitment to this business is to keep it independent. We need to grow both in the UK and outside. You will see that development over the next couple of years. At some point we will have to reward our shareholders for their patience. I want the business to be owned by the people in it, our current shareholders and our customers. The financial people tell me that will be very difficult but I wouldn’t be Chairman of Rohan if I was fazed by the merely difficult.
The new year is going to be difficult for anyone in business and in the public
sector but I look forward to it and I hope it is good for all of you who read this.
============================================= Colin Fisher