Swardman will boost export in 2017
25. 12. 2016
For me personally, an important phase in the development of Swardman is now just beginning. Yes, we have taken giant steps: from starting our own production to hiring more people at different positions across the company and from implementing an information system to launching an e-shop. All of these things are indispensable for our future. Let’s call it a fitness exercise before the real race. Swardman has begun expanding into foreign markets at full blast. We are no longer talking about items individually sold abroad. Export has become the essence of our existence.
Since 2007, I have wanted to sell cylinder lawn mowers mainly abroad and now, it is becoming reality. If in 2016 exports accounted for 10% of our sales, next year it should be 80% and in two years 95%. It’s logical... The Czech market is relatively small and the purchasing power is still substantially lower than in western countries. Moreover, the Czech lawn mowing market is lagging behind. Although we have been trying to change it, people in the Czech Republic are not as concerned about their lawn as people in other countries. These are the main reasons why we would like to focus our efforts outside the Czech borders. After all, there are many Czech businesses that produce exceptionally high quality products and that have turned their focus abroad, which turned out to be the right way for them.
Where is Swardman going to expand now? In addition to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it will mainly be Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. And we also have one surprise ready. To be able to work on other markets as well as we do in the Czech Republic, we need a good e-shop. With the exception of Dutch, all other versions of the e-shop are up and running or will be launched soon. Other lawn mower manufacturers have spent the last 50 years improving their distribution systems and this is not a head start that we can catch up to. Therefore, we have to look for openings and paths in every country to find the right way to the customer and to deliver a product with better service than is typical on the market. A well-functioning website is the cornerstone of successful sales, especially in our business.
A team of top export managers will take care of our new markets: Tomáš Jelínek, Jan Polívka, René Boleslav and Daniel Šraga. France is still a question mark, but I believe that it will only be a matter of a few days. In countries such as Germany, France and the UK, we have established collaboration with local partners who will help us to enter the respective markets.
As the lawn mowing season is relatively short, it is extremely difficult to estimate how each market is going to perform and whether the customers will like our mowers... It may be a slow and difficult path with most of our sales still being made in the Czech Republic...However, we believe that as the only manufacturer of the quietest petrol engine lawn mowers that can be configured like a car, we will become a hit in one of the countries and our products will sell fast. We are ready for a year-on-year increase in sales by an order of magnitude. The end of May will show whether are right.
For our customers, the season starts roughly in mid-March; for our export managers, it started in November. There is not much time left and they have to give their best. Backed up by the entire company, of course. We have achieved the impossible and we will also break through to west European countries.
Wishing you all the best in the New Year!
Tomáš Šena, Swardman director