Few people have emerged from the coronavirus crisis unscathed. There are now 8.9 million workers who have been furloughed by their employers and millions more freelancers and small business owners whose income has been vastly reduced.
Rather than trying to soldier on until the crisis has passed, some entrepreneurs have used the economic shock caused by Covid-19 as an opportunity to revamp their businesses or start a new one.
A report published by the Federation of Small Businesses, a trade body, found that 8pc of small companies have launched new products during the pandemic while 5pc have expanded the services they offer.
We spoke to three business owners who have launched a new company or changed their approach entirely: Chris Mead from Limewedge, Oliver Loveday from Ashdown Organics and Mike Nuttall from Must Wine.
“This business has always been on my mind, always been on the back burner,” said Mr Mead, whose company Limewedge delivers boxes with all the ingredients needed to make cocktails at home.
“My partner said ‘why don’t you try to do that?’ and I thought, that’s actually a great idea. It’s probably what people want during lockdown and I gave myself the rather ambitious timeline of four weeks to get it launched.”
Oliver Loveday, 39, was working as a freelancer in the travel industry and was left without any income when the country went into lockdown.
He started working for supermarket Asda on a temporary basis as a driver and this move helped spark the idea for his own business delivering organic fruit and vegetable boxes.
“The first four weeks I saw my orders double each week, there was crazy demand,” he said.
“It is a passion project as much as anything – this isn’t just an act of desperation to get money.”
Mr Nuttall, meanwhile, had recently opened a second wine bar when lockdown started and he set himself the goal to “successfully survive”.
That meant starting to sell wine online, offering a food and wine pairing service and launching online tasting sessions – and he says 3,000 people have already taken part in the latter.
“It’s revolutionised our business for the future.”
To read more about Oliver’s story, head here:
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