Beginnings are always tough and the start of a new year in business is no exception. Coming back from holiday after lazing about in the sun, playing golf and swimming in the ocean there is always an adjustment that one has to make. But I know the Lift Truck team! We are a disciplined and motivated group of people and I have no doubt that pretty quickly we’ll be back in our stride, focused on our goals and objectives for the year and diving into giving our customers the best possible service.

The last six months was the best half-year ever achieved by our company in terms of profit. While I am, of course, extremely proud of this and of each and every one of you that has helped to produce these results, we cannot rest on our laurels. So, this year the pressure is on for us to not only meet the high standards that we have set for ourselves but to try our best to better them!

Of course this will not be easy! There is much happening around us that is causing a certain amount of uncertainty in the business environment – Trump, BREXIT, end of President Zuma’s term – and we have to be prepared for all eventualities.

Personally I am very positive and optimistic about the future, but this does not mean to say that we don’t have to be most watchful in terms of the global and local economies so that we can react to changes in an appropriate and smart manner to ensure the continued growth of our business.

One of the clear advantages that we start this year with is now being part of the dynamic InServe group, which brings together a host of people who are experienced and expert in selling equipment in the industrial space. I look forward to sharing ideas with our new colleagues to help improve our skills and I urge you to do the same.

One of the greatest golfers ever, Jack Nicklaus, had one coach for his entire career and at the beginning of each year he made Jack start again with the basics – the stance, the grip, his tempo and so on. This is a great lesson for all of us! No matter how well we have done, no matter how great our performance, we must spend some time now, at the beginning of this challenging year, to check our basics. Are our customer databases up to standard? Have we made contact with each and every one of our customers? Are we up to date with all technology changes in our products? Have we got a plan to see how we can improve the service to our customers? Are we clear in terms of our goals for the year and how we are going to achieve them? Are we eating well and getting enough rest at night? Are we doing all we can to ensure that we are in a position to be the best that we can be?

We should never take things for granted, especially when we are on a roll! We must ensure that we refresh ourselves for the task ahead while remembering to be grateful for having the best products in the world to sell and a totally professional team to ensure that we can sell and support these products.

Good luck for 2017 – make the most of the privilege it is to be a part of our extraordinary company.

Darryl Shafto