Pivoting the pandemic – entrepreneurs share their secrets

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THE pandemic has created a prime opportunity for entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start their own business, according to experts who gave heir views live online last week.

Representatives from several companies who had  shared their experiences and expertise on how to make a start-up a success during these extraordinary times as part of a live broadcast.

Last Tuesday (November 17) was National Entrepreneur’s Day and, due to the ever-evolving situation caused by Covid-19, lots of people have found themselves unemployed or furloughed and may now be considering the prospect of working for themselves and becoming their own boss.

But with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that around 60 per cent of new companies fail within the first five years, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to prepare well and give each other a helping hand where they can.

There’s opportunity everywhere and to be a true entrepreneur you have to spot it early and act quickly

Christina Colmer McHugh – co-founder of Moodbeam, a wearable device that tracks the user’s mood – spoke about how the Covid-19 pandemic presented them with exciting opportunities as well as new challenges this year.

Christina, pictured above, said: “We’ve almost been waiting for this moment but we never imagined we’d find ourselves in a pandemic where people would struggle so much to connect with loved ones and colleagues.

“Our product has been engineered to make connection as easy as possible so it was really beneficial to have our human-focused technology refined and ready to help people this year.”

Adrian ButtressAdrian Buttress, left, managing director of Permaroof UK, also experienced a successful summer despite the extraordinary circumstances by adapting the company’s product offering in response to Covid-19.

Speaking about the possibility the pandemic can offer entrepreneurs, he said: “There’s opportunity everywhere and to be a true entrepreneur you have to spot it early and act quickly.

“Entrepreneurship is a lot more accessible than people think. There’s a lot of support out there, including entrepreneur groups, mentorship schemes, and roundtables where small business owners help each other and offer advice.”

As well as a panel of established entrepreneurs, the webisode featured tips from Kamran Hassan, business development manager at First Enterprise. He said: “The main issue for start-ups is not having a business plan and a strong financial projection in tandem with that.

“This will really help you to work out whether it’s a feasible and sustainable business. You also need to know your target audience, where they are and what platforms they use to really target them and be successful.”

Katie Freeley, owner of k.fines jewellery, capitalised on this notion when launching her new shop this year,  five days before the first national lockdown in March. She said: “Our amazing, loyal client base has really facilitated our growth and we’re now in the position to be opening another store in Lincoln before Christmas.”

In any business you need to be ready to drop what you’re doing and change your plans – it’s important to always be flexible

Katie used lockdown to really focus on the brand’s digital offering. She added: “I had never had the confidence, energy or time to focus on our website and social media before but lockdown essentially forced my hand.

“However, the digital aspect of the business was a huge success over lockdown, so the investment was really worthwhile and we’re looking forward to becoming a more digital business, while maintaining the positive, personable experience of instore shopping.”

Fran Russell, owner of the White Rabbit Teahouse in West Bridgford, also used her time during the pandemic to diversify her business as hospitality was one of the first industries to close and the last to reopen.

She said, “As an entrepreneur, it has been a very stressful year and you have to be prepared to diversify. In any business you need to be ready to drop what you’re doing and change your plans – it’s important to always be flexible.”

The full webisode is available to watch here and listen to here. It was run by Catwright Communications