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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Lisa Berry, owner of Cheeky Little Prints which provides sterling silver jewellery designs showcasing the unique paw prints of your pets. The business is 11 years old and Lisa also offers standalone inkless paw print kits as well as a range of personalised pawprint stamps and gifts.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
I first realised the Coronavirus would have a significant impact on my business at the end of February. Having already seen a drop in sales during the last two weeks of February (believed to be a knock-on effect of the recent floods and storms), the drop in sales has continued during March. I could see how devastating the virus was becoming in other countries like Italy and with experts predicting that the same was heading our way. Seeing the rapid spread of the Coronavirus during March has been frightening.
What has been your plan to continue?
- I am reducing costs and overheads wherever possible, this is being done very reluctantly as it will have an impact on other businesses and suppliers I enjoy working with.
- I'm continuing to be positive in marketing to customers as the business can continue to operate from home and has good stocks so current and new orders be fulfilled.
- Customers have been reassured any expected issues in supply or delivery of orders will be communicated as soon as they are anticipated.
- Reduced demand for our personalised paw print gifts and jewellery is anticipated, which is very sad to see. This won’t last forever though, customers will continue to be able to access our range of products online and we will be ready to cope with the increased demand once we are through the worst of this.
What advice would you give to others in business?
My advice to other businesses is cut or maintain costs wherever you can and continue to market your business as much as possible.
Don't cut ties with your suppliers unless it's desperate - however have a conversation with them about perhaps cutting their rates for a set period to enable everyone to survive.
Be up front and honest with your customers about how your business operation, products/services have changed or may have to change in the future.
Reassure customers you can continue to serve them where you can and remain positive, so customers don’t lose trust in you or your brand.
Keep in touch with other business owners as we all need a lot of support right now, both financially and mentally.
What can we do to help each other?
Continue to support other businesses as much as you possibly can, keep recommending them and sharing their social media posts, buy their products and services where you can.
Small independent business are particularly at risk at the moment which is very sad to see. Check in on your business contacts, how are they feeling? What do they need help with right now?
Do the same with family and friends especially any who are vulnerable and isolated.
What do you think can be learned from this in the business world?
I think the biggest lesson is to ensure your business has adequate contingency plans in place ready to implement working from home or moving products/services online where possible if face to face operation is not possible. Be really clear if you have any business interruption insurance that it actually covers this kind of scenario - it's proving difficult to get insurers to pay out. Most small businesses won't even have it.
We all know we should have several months of running costs in the bank as a contingency but most businesses do not. I think this situation highlights the increasing importance of having a financial safety net even for micro buisinesses and sole traders/selfemployed.
Your parting thought?
Wishing everyone lots of luck in keeping healthy and I sincerely hope as many businesses as possible can survive this and emerge stronger.
For more information visit www.cheekylittleprints.co.uk or call 07792 835639.