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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Matthew West, Director, Oak Furniture Collection, cabinet furniture retailer based near Sallsbury.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
Before Christmas with the outbreak in China and the threat of a global pandemic, I realised that this could be the next thorn in my side after austerity, Novichok and Brexit. There was another threat on the horizon affecting consumer confidence and forcing a downturn in sales.
What has been your plan to continue?
The business is well founded with good reserves and assets all paid for so thankfully we just need to cover the basic costs of salary and utilities. With this in mind a three to six month lapse or even closure is manageable.
How have you changed your business as the weeks have passed?
Our shop is closed to any visiting customers but our online offering remains open. However, due to the nature of the product we sell most customers prefer to visit the showroom to satisfy their expectations before making a purchase.
Have you been able to access any Government support?
It is not worth while being furloughed and closing our doors completely as there is still good online potential for sales. After all, I am an optimistic, glass half full type of guy!
What have you seen about business which has been positive?
The air is cleaner, the birdsong is louder and many people of business minds are reflecting on the true values of commerce, myself included. And as in times gone by, when we are faced with hardship and struggle, we are often blessed with creativity and endeavour.
Have you seen any negative behaviours in business?
Strangely, the three scam calls I get every day from some remote call centre on the other side of the world have stopped, but I understand that the fraudsters will find ways to exploit the vulnerable.
What advice would you give to others in business?
Always plan for a rainy day, bearing in mind that that rainy day could be a monsoon.
What can we do to help each other?
If you find you have spare capacity, energy or some good advice to offer a fellow in business, don’t be afraid to make that offer.
Your parting thought?
Our businesses, trade and customers will all be here tomorrow, but our loved ones may not, so let’s keep things in perspective.
Find out more by visiting Oak Furniture Collection online, www.oakfurniturecollection.co.uk