Priorities for the year ahead from our Disruptive Minds Taskforce.
We’ve teamed up with Great British Entrepreneur Awards to launch our Disruptive Minds Taskforce; an initiative bringing together inspirational entrepreneurs and business owners to discuss all the challenges facing SMEs today.
Our first webinar was all about the priorities for SMEs in the year ahead, investigating how they stay afloat in 2022. Covid restrictions over the last two years have impacted all businesses, and especially SMEs. With everything that has happened to the business landscape recently, small SMEs’ main focus will simply be readjusting, be that by getting ‘back to normal’, developing a new normal, or simply staying afloat.
Our first Disruptive Minds webinar discussed how SMEs can stay afloat this year. We had five members of our taskforce; Dave Linton, Nohman Ahmed, Abigail Baldwin, Rimi Thapar and Joe Binder, all discussing overcoming the highs, lows and aftermath of Covid-19, and there were some key themes that can be taken away from this session.
Don’t follow the cultural influence
A lack of travel due to Covid-19 meant a lack of sales for Madlug, a luggage company that prides itself on making a social difference with its products. Their founder, David Linton, said that if they had followed the cultural influence, they would likely have stopped the business, but he had been determined to keep the team alive and stay positive. Six months later, IKEA called wanting to give every member of staff a Madlug bag, an incredible moment for the company and one that would not have happened if the company had stopped production. David advises that “the challenge is that you just have to be really in tune and know that business changes”
Adapting to consumer behaviours
When a huge campaign was pulled due to the effects of the pandemic, Joe Binder, founder of WOAW, saw the domino effect this had. While trying keep hold of old customers and bring in new ones, the silver lining of the situation was that many companies were now needing to strategise online for the first time, which is exactly where Joe’s services were needed.
Nohman Ahmed agreed. As the co-founder of Crep Protect, he knows just how much his company had relied on retail, another sector hugely affected by the pandemic. However, they took a step back, and used the time to plan how consumer behaviours would be changed by the situation. They knew they couldn’t continue to do the same thing forever, so Nohman advises “It’s about being invested, being innovative, and really disrupting the industry”.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario
Building on Nohman’s sentiment of businesses being resilient and resourceful, Rimi Thapar, founder of LoveRaw, added that having plans in place for both the future, and worst-case scenarios can help save your business.
She admits that, like many, the pandemic was a huge shock for the LowRaw business. They progressed by bringing forward their direct consumer model for 2023 and went online almost straight away. “We also used social ambassadors which helped us bolt forward as well, so we use social media as a platform to get out to consumers and also build our brand” she said.
The importance of human connection
The LoveRaw team has already had work from home plans and systems in place before the pandemic hit, but it was the uncertainty of the situations that was really felt. “We introduced a daily meeting where we spoke about positivity and introduced challenges to keep up morale. Checking in on each other was really important in succeeding through the pandemic” says Rimi.
Abigail Baldwin, Co-founder of Buttercrumble, agrees that some of the most important factors to ensure your business thrives is teamwork and your work culture. While technology has been invaluable during the pandemic, Abigail says, “I don’t think it can ever replace the human connection” It’s talking to your team, and checking in on them, while still ensuring everyone is safe, that’s really important.
In summary, in order to stay afloat in a post pandemic world, our taskforce agreed that brands need to be versatile and always trying to stay one step ahead of the crowd. Being able to reach your audience in any situation is vital, however its also important not to simply follow the crowd. Always consider your key values, goals and culture to ensure your business thrives from the inside out.
Watch the webinar
Don't worry if you missed our first Disruptive Minds webinar. You can watch the entire session with five members of the taskforce below.
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