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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Dennie Smith of Vintage62 hair salon in South Croydon, near London and also founder of dating website Old Style Dating. Dennie has owned her unisex hair salon for five years but managed it for several years before that. Her online dating website is designed to bring together people who are truly looking for love, moving away from hook-ups or flings. It promotes romance and respect.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
We have two OAP days in the salon and suddenly many started cancelling. This just got worse with more and more cancellations until we had no choice but to close, just before we were told to close.
What has been your plan to continue?
I did what everyone else did at first. Communicating the fact we were open and that we were following government guidelines.
I’m now cutting hours and staff pay and have had to close. I don't know how long I can hang on.
Unless I get government help ASAP I’m petrified I will go bust. I don’t have any savings as my husband was made redundant last August, and despite applying and going to interviews he still has no work.
Old Style Dating is in its infancy so doesn't make any money so the salon is my only form of income. I'm terrified and am on a knife edge at the moment.
What advice would you give to others in business?
Being honest. I don’t know. Reassure your clients and your staff and if you have to cut hours or pay or you have to furlough them, explain why and show you care and that it's not a cutthroat decision.
What can we do to help each other?
It's hard to give back when you are so stressed and worried about your own life. However I have tried to do this and have found it helps by providing positive moments. I have organised a food bank service in my area just for the elderly. This is now operating effectively to help those in need in my community.
What do you think can be learned from this in the business world?
That we take everything for granted, and if has taught me to try to save and be very careful what I spend money on. With one wage in our household for seven months, saving has been impossible anyway. This is why we are so anxious at the moment.
Your parting thought?
I confess I am absolutely terrified of going under. Five years ago I sold our home to set up this business and then started Old Style Dating. We are still in rented accommodation so even that does not feel secure. I don’t want it all to have been in vain.