Victorian philosopher Thomas Carlyle referred to economics as ‘the dismal science’. It’s a moniker that has haunted this particular field of study for well over a century and often, not without good reason. The sheer complexity and interconnectivity of the global economy means that during a crash or recession, every major industry feels the effects of each economic decision made by governments and financial institutions. This is particularly true of the British steel industry who, since the financial crash of 2008, have experienced a series of serious setbacks that continue to depress the industry.
What is growth? At first, it seems like a fairly simple question to answer for most businesses. Increased revenue streams, better profit margins, greater efficiency and innovation, as well as physical size are all fairly standard measures of how successfully a business is growing. However, this question becomes infinitely more complex when other factors are added into the equation: Is all business growth stable and sustainable? How does our growth as a business compare to our competitors? How is our growth as a business affected by macroeconomic factors?
In 1990, the UK was about to enter a decade that would transform domestic industry and business. Margaret Thatcher left office in November, the end of a premiership in which huge swathes of Britain’s manufacturing industry, from cars to household goods, had been privatised and moved offshore. Bott was only a small company at this point, but the aim of producing workplace storage of exceptional quality, a product that was ‘built to last’, would become a core ideal in the growth and development of the business over the next 25 years.
During this period, developing a successful business that relied on products engineered and manufactured in the UK was far from a straightforward task. There was little faith in British industry and further blows to the economy, particularly the forced withdrawal of the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) on what came to be known as Black Wednesday, left the economy in a particularly precarious state.