In the shark-infested waters of business, startups are teeny tiny plankton being gobbled up by the bigger, more intricately evolved aquatic species of the corporate world.
Most of them will be devoured before they even learn how to swim. But every now and again, there’ll be a start-up platform that grows a fin and some legs, and swims its way to the top of the food chain.
Now that this tortured analogy is over – and has shown its writer’s VERY limited understanding of evolutionary biology – we can get to the point. Being a start-up is hard, and the twofold threat of the coronavirus and a new economic collapse will make it even harder over the next few years.
Those sharks in the first paragraph have been strengthened by the global crises unravelling before our eyes, while smaller businesses have been shut down entirely.
And yet, giving up is not an option. There are a glut of SMEs that have weathered the storm of the world’s economic tumult and will emerge stronger than ever.
How have they done this? In large part, their success is down to a granular knowledge of their business sector. They’ve got the edge over their competitors, and it’s keeping them in fine economic fettle.
Let’s take a look at three examples to show you a few businesses that are growing legs and swimming ashore – in part thanks to the lockdown.
1. Property Lisbon.
The property sector has fallen on hard times since the coronavirus pandemic began – but that won’t stop the resumption of foreign investment once normal business starts again.
One company ideally positioned for booming sales is Property Lisbon, an estate agency in the capital of Portugal with properties which are suitable for the budding AirBnB entrepreneur or the long-term resident.
There’s a simple reason why companies like Property Lisbon are set to make a killing – they’ve cornered a very specific market and frontloaded their website with a broad illustration of their expertise. Take a look to see what we mean.
The lesson: don’t be afraid to flaunt your knowledge on your website. Potential customers will be impressed.
Alcohol consumption has seen a rapid increase since the lockdown began. And while that’s not exactly a cause for celebration, it marks a boon for independent breweries everywhere.
BrewDog are one of the largest independent craft beer makers on the planet and, thanks to their beer delivery service, they’ve managed to balance the books to keep their doors open.
People have ordered from BrewDog in part because of its exceptional track record for customer service. This is a brand that’s fostered a relationship with its customers from the very beginning, and it’s keeping their profit margins high at a time when many brewers are feeling the pinch.
The lesson: place the customer cycle at the core of your business and you’ll have an incredibly loyal fan base.
Fast fashion has been in the critical spotlight far before the COVID-19 pandemic and, with global supply chains scuppered, many clothing companies are on the wane.
And yet BooHoo thrives, boasting of a year-on-year rise in in sales during April, and adapting their clothing line to suit the population’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
Boohoo spokesperson told the BBC, ‘People aren’t really buying going-out items, but they are buying homewear – hoodies, joggers, tracksuit bottoms. Sales of tops have gone up in particular, with everyone wanting to look smart on Zoom calls.’
The lesson: the limitations of a supply chain can work to your benefit if you understand your customers’ needs.
That’s our list. We hope it’ll provide your startup with some excellent inspiration. Know any other companies that have fared particularly well during the lockdown? Then let us know in the comments below!