The coronavirus pandemic was one that was unexpected, and as well as the devastation it brought across the world, it also meant that everyone had new challenges and obstacles to overcome - whether that be personal or business, positive or negative - it allowed for a world of new experiences.

Covid-19 pandemic

Many already established businesses had to adjust their business models to cater to new rules, and consumer needs. Such as, introducing cashless payment systems, online services, and social distancing structures. And for many non businesses owners, it offered them the beauty of time, allowing them to start the businesses they’ve always wanted to.

As the world locked down in march 2020, most ‘non-essential’ businesses had to shut up shop, and unless there was an ability to work from home, employees were furloughed. This essentially meant that people were able to spend time at home, for some up to a year, and in doing so a lot of people sat back and looked at their current careers, and set out to change it. Those who had dreams of starting their own business, did, and those who had no idea what to do found that the pandemic brought them new challenges, and gaps in the market to fill.

The last two years has seen a wave of entrepreneurial activity, and in 2020 alone a huge 835,494 new businesses were registered in the UK - nearly 50% more than in 2019, and a 96% increase since 2018. You may think that pandemic would be a terrible time to start a new business, people have less income, and the world is in disarray!

However, contrary to beliefs, it may have been the perfect time. Those starting out were able to implement services needed to survive in this climate, and they were able to have the time to truly plan and execute without distraction. Another benefit of opening in the pandemic, was that businesses would have cut down on costs massively.

With it being essential to work from home, small teams or individual owners wouldn’t have had the need for office costs - and they could take full advantage of technology to make their work from home experience a positive, smooth process.

We asked a number of start-up founders, and co-founders how they felt the pandemic has affected their business:

“The pandemic was what accelerated my business and turned what was an idea in the back of my head into what I now do full-time”

Amelia Christie-Miller - Founder of Bold Bean Co

“I would say the pandemic has been beneficial for us in the innovation sector. Generally speaking, when things are going very well, people don’t like trying new things - it’s a fact of life. When things aren’t going well, like this pandemic, people tend to be more receptive to new ideas and concepts, and that’s what we do at pastoral - looking at new ways to solve big problems. So, ultimately other than the fact the pandemic has made it harder for us to travel out to the field, which is an important part of our process, it hasn’t impacted us in a negative way at all! If anything the pandemic has allowed us to try new things faster than we would have otherwise”

Josh Thomas - Co-Founder of Pastoral  

 

 

“From a personal and business growth perspective, missing out on that key communication and not being able to build those relationships with people face to face was the biggest one”

Josh Jackson - Founder of hakamount

“The pandemic didn’t break us, instead brought us a lot of opportunity for growth, providing us with even more challenges to overcome” - Kinga Musak

Marketing manager of Copy House Ltd. 

 

 

“To be perfectly honest our business wouldn’t have existed without the pandemic, although it’s been a very weird time to launch a business. The pandemic had some real challenges in terms of launching a business because we couldn’t find that network in the same way you would do in a normal situation. But the opportunity arose and we ceased it.”

Ronnan Finnegan - Co-Founder of Spacebands Ltd

“Sow Clever personally we saw a huge influx in orders during the period between March and May (2020) and that was largely due to the fact that people were locked down at home, they couldn’t go anywhere, the weather was really nice and everyone wanted an activity they could do by themselves or with their kids - so for us, sales increased during that period. I think the only challenge we had with the pandemic was in terms of supply.”

Lucy Emsley - Co-Founder of Sow Clever Ltd.  

 

 

“It has been a crazy couple of years, we founded the company pre-pandmic and wanted to launch pre-pandemic by running a rewards-based crowdfunder, but we decided to put a hold on that, and it actually gave us a lot of space to educate ourselves, and learn - to build the foundations of our business. Working remotely was something we hadn’t planned on of course, but it actually worked really well for us and it’s something that we will continue to do.”

Lucy Hall - CEO of Loanhood

“Lockdown and low availability of staff slowed production, delaying my launch by three months - which impacted all of my business planning. I was however able to mitigate some downside by adopting strategies to keep customers engaged e.g. sneak peeks, promotions and pre-orders. Overall it was a great lesson on how to prevent supply chain issues in the future.”

Stephanie Zeinati - Founder and Creative Director at MEGOSA

“I had the luxury of just being able to work, without the fear of missing out, as there was nothing happening in the world. We also saw a huge percentage increase in new companies being incorporated, which meant that I wasn’t the only person to be starting a company at that time, and it really brought back the point of a founder owning their own pr. I strongly believe without the pandemic I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today”

Juliet Fallowfield -Found & Managing Director of Fallowfield & Mason

“One takeaway that we’ve had is learning the value and importance of social media. We understand that the exercise to communicate the voice of our brand is ever-evolving and is a powerful tool that we believe can be used to unite lovers of Mexican food and culture.”

Rania Vera - Co-Founder of Conchita’s Chipotle

“Covid impacted our business in the short term very negatively, because as an agency we are obviously very dependent on our clients having a budget and revenue and wanting to market to people. So we were working with a number of large projects at the time that fell through, charities, events companies, and a travel company - as they obviously had no money coming in, so they needed to pause or change the projects that they had with us. Ultimately, however, I would say that it made us stronger, because I think it made us realise the types of companies that we would and wouldn’t work with, and those that were more secure and long term.”

Corrie Jones - Founder of Untapped Digital 

 

 

“In one word…opportunity. I was in an extremely fortunate position whereby I was being paid on furlough for a year and a half, so I could set up my business, which was a dream that had been festering in my head way before covid even existed. It’s not really something I like to shout too much about because of all the awful ways it affected other people, but in a way, it was my coping strategy - it helped give me a purpose and also gave other local runners the same. Luckily we were able to provide local runners with a safe and sociable experience that was much needed.”

Lucy Canham - Founder of Run of a Kind