Turning Lockdown into a Competitive Advantage – How one firm used a dark time to a positive effect

By Anita Jaynes on 27 July, 2021

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By Chris Parry, Bespoke Frameless Glass

It’s rather an understatement that for companies who manufacture bespoke products, the national lockdown was a taxing time. For us, we had an enforced three-month period where we stopped production completely.

As a specialist frameless glass company, many projects were halted, and we used this time to our advantage and threw ourselves into redevelopment of the business. This entailed installing a new email and CRM system, and establishing new business processes. We invested in marketing to create consistent SEO and social media activity.

We also used the time to develop a new product; protective glass screens that became popular in doctors’ surgeries and medical practices.

In all, we witnessed growth of +420% over this time, enabling us to hire 4 more staff. The way we managed this is repeatable for most businesses, and these are my top tips.

Taking time to work ON the business

Many of us know that the key to success as business owners is to get out of the day-to-day business tasks and take a step outside of it. Popularized by Michael Gerber in his excellent book The E-Myth, the concept of working IN versus ON a business is one that many of us have had to learn. Early on in business, we as founders have to take on all the roles in the business. And as a business owner, our time is our biggest resource. How can you free yourself some time to work on the bigger picture?  You know you are working in the business if you are doing a task that could be easily handled by an employee. Delegating those tasks will free you time to work on the systems and processes. Building the business in a way it can work without you is key to having the time to strategize and the ability to grow. 

Streamlining Processes

By spending time working on our business, we realized we could make the processes so much simpler. For instance, we had long wanted a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to help us keep in touch with our customers. We knew that this would save us precious time in the long run. We also spent time making sure that all our systems work together seamlessly – our email, CRM, quoting, our progress on different jobs. This was a matter of creating some simplicity that all staff can easily implement.

Keeping in Contact

Our new CRM means we can easily keep in contact with our former customers and our prospects. It’s easy for companies to get caught up in ‘shiny new things’ and chasing down new leads, when you have a bank of loyal brand lovers at your fingertips. That timeworn expression of ‘you can’t sell to a man who isn’t listening’ holds true, and your previous customers are ones who are more likely to be listening. Don’t assume loyalty. You need to work on that and look after those customers who have looked after you in the past. Add value to their lives. 

By working on these three aspects of your business, you will be more likely to have success in growing your company. Lockdown provided a golden opportunity to start this process, and now as we move out into a more ‘normal’ work pattern, the work we have done is paying dividends. 

Pictured above: Chris Parry, Bespoke Frameless Glass which is based in Kingswood, Bristol.