100 Years In Business: Tips from the Scotts

Standing strong in the summerhouse, timber house and equestrian house business after 100 years is no small feat, and has been a journey of growth by each generation of the Scotts family. From founder James Scott as a startup in 1920 to the relentless hard work and unshakable commitment each generation has put in since, Scotts of Thrapston remains one of the most reputable names in stables, garages and outbuildings in the UK.

Of course, there have been several heady moments of rapturous acclaim over the years, when the brand has won huge recognition and been chosen by the greats of the equestrian world as the must-have stabling for their horses.

But the reality and the constant effort behind such great recognition is that before we get to this end game, we must first do the work, dealing with problems and setbacks along the way.

“That’s business”, the Scotts family says. “Just grow a thick skin.”

However, that is obviously much easier said than done. So, here are a few tips from the Scotts family to help develop resilience in business.

Tips to help develop resilience in business

  1. A strong and positive mindset is an absolute minimum in the world of business. Over the 100-year history of the company, the family has seen war, recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. The way in which you approach these challenges can have a big impact on how well your business handles challenging times.
  2. Sometimes, you have to take time out to work “on” the business, not just “in” it. Understanding your challenges, it’s important to get out and network. When you know what you need to achieve, you will find it easier to meet the right people to help you. Whether that is your next customer or headhunting a new member of staff.
  3. It’s crucial to know why your business exists. A family business that spans over generations, like Scotts, can make it more difficult for each new successor to step into the role. But each new generation has a different role to play in taking the business forward and making their mark.
  4. Having a clear vision for the business allows you to communicate easily with staff, partners, investors and customers. Scotts has rebranded numerous times during its 100 years. This has been an important part of driving the business forward into challenging times and ensuring the business remains current.
  5. Understanding your customers’ ongoing requirements, especially in the equestrian world, is crucial for product development and positioning. Scotts has always listened to private and commercial equestrian clients to understand what is important for the working of their yard alongside the welfare of their horses
  6. And, finally, being the best you can be with the customer at the centre of the business philosophy has always been the key to the Scotts customer service ethos and why they still have an enviable reputation in all their markets today.
    David Scott commented on his family’s success: “The joy of being 100 years old, is that we are incredibly fortunate to have a loyal band of customers, staff and suppliers.

They have supported us over the years and always show a keen interest in the change in the family generations as well as developments in our products.

“It has been very satisfying to see many of these long-term customers and contacts renewing their acquaintance at shows and events each year, which is very much missed during these times.”


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