This article is part of our collection on Strategy and Planning
As adaptability continues to be a key competitive advantage for businesses, Steph McGovern speaks to business owners who have successfully pivoted their offerings or launched a new venture.
Last updated: 21 Oct 2020 4 min read
Trading in the ‘new normal’ and adapting to changing government guidance has this year put the resourcefulness of businesses to the test – and for some, this has yielded surprising results. In our new video series, journalist and TV presenter Steph McGovern speaks to business owners about the hard decisions and unforeseen positives that have emerged during the past few months. We’ll hear from business owners who have changed or expanded their business models for the better, and entrepreneurs who have found innovative new ways to make money in a tough environment. We’ll also tackle some of the difficult decisions that SME owners have had to take in planning for the future, from redundancies to financial support – and speak to business owners who have very different views on whether working from home is here to stay. So, whether you’re looking for the next opportunity for your business or still finding your feet, watch the series to gain some valuable insights to help you navigate the road ahead.
In the launch episode of the new series, Steph talks to businesses that changed strategy during the coronavirus lockdown, and adapted their offering to the new climate. Samantha Jameson, founder of luxury bath and body brand Soapsmith, and business partner Ella McKay reveal how they took the decision to pivot and launch a philanthropic initiative to gift soaps to the NHS that ultimately led to an increase in online sales. Meanwhile, Jenny Kitchen, CEO of design agency Yoyo, explains how furlough gave her staff the opportunity to learn new skills that are now helping clients bring their own products to market.
As business owners tried to deal with a downturn in trade during lockdown, they were forced to have some difficult conversations with all their stakeholders, from suppliers and employees to customers new and old. In this episode, Steph McGovern talks to Sam Clark, co-founder and director of Experience Travel Group, and Hootan Ahmada, former plastic surgeon and football agent, who now runs an innovative footwear restoration company, Shoe Lab. Sam discusses the tough conversations with holidaymakers whose trips he had to postpone as travel restrictions came in, and how openness and frankness has ultimately worked for the firm, while Hootan describes having to furlough staff and come up with a recovery plan for a business that is now thriving as more people make do and mend.
In this episode, Steph McGovern speaks to Tamara Littleton, founder and CEO of The Social Element, a digital firm that helps brands deliver their message on social media. When lockdown occurred, The Social Element was in the fortunate position of being able to maintain a remote team, and Tamara quickly realised there was demand from pandemic-panicked firms for a crisis-management solution to their social media offering. Tamara discusses how The Social Element could study what consumers were saying about a particular brand across all the social channels, so that the brand could then respond, adjust its strategy and keep its customers happy during a time of great uncertainty.
In the final episode in this series, Steph McGovern talks to two business owners about the pros and cons of homeworking, and what part it will play in their future. Ross Williams, founder and CEO of Venttro Media Group, a software that powers more than 3,000 dating platforms, says the firm managed to scale without a hitch during lockdown and believes his people are working better and more effectively from home. Meanwhile, Clare Harris, MD of eco-friendly party products producer Talking Tables, has been mindful that her young team thrives on interaction, collaboration, and the energy of human togetherness, and has encouraged staff to return to the office if they want to.
Strategy and Planning