Following redundancy in the early 1990’s, Will King created the King of Shaves brand and its first product which was a shaving oil.
Buying shave.com for £18 in 1995, he found that “shaving’s a growth business” and in this year, King of Shaves will celebrate its 27th anniversary, with more than 15Bn lives ‘shaved’ world-wide.
Now Executive Chairman of the business, King of Shaves has been the stand-out innovator in men’s grooming products for over two decades.
Overcorrecting is imperative:
Having started King of Shaves in 1992 in the height of a recession and having been through a few more economic downturns since then, Will admits he has “seen quite a bit”.
Will says that businesses need to now, more than ever, immediately acknowledge their problem and over-correct saying “you’ve got to almost do more than you think you need to do to right the ship.”
In a webinar with Fresh Business Thinking, supported by BT Skills for Tomorrow, Will referenced Professor Scott Galloway (who you can follow on Twitter here) and who talks about over-correcting in his three pillars of crisis management which are:
Galloway says that “six months from now when things are back to relatively normal, measures taken now may look drastic, but that is the point”.
“What's difficult about overreacting is it's disproportionate to the problem at present. It's deeply uncomfortable, because you are devising a solution to a problem that doesn't yet exist and whose future scale you are guessing. Throwing vast resources at a guess is risky and hard to justify, yet if you wait long enough for the scale to unfold, it will be too late”. Professor Scott Galloway
A World Health Organization expert put it well, saying:
"If you need to be right before you move, you'll never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection. The problem right now is everyone is afraid of making a mistake."
Summer is coming & this storm will pass:
As a sailing guy, Will was keen to get across the message that “this storm will pass” and that entrepreneurs need to remember that we are all in an economic hiatus and that they’re not alone in the boat right now.
Survive, Plan, Act-ion, Cash, Enjoy:
In only a story Will King could tell, he shared how he had once signed up to shave Richard Branson’s beard in space as part of Virgin’s Galactic programme by invitation of Virgin’s head of astronaut relations in 2006.
For ever and ever and ever, Will says “Virgin Galactic has never taken off, but at the time I developed an acronym when giving presentations to entrepreneurs and business owners using SPACE”.
Previously the letters have represented satisfaction/success, passion/persistence, attitude of action, confidence and common sense and enjoy, but he’s re-purposed it for current times, and here it is:
Survive: Will says that “how you survive is entirely down to you including the decisions you make and actions you take. We’re all in survival mode right now”.
Plan, prepare & pivot: Will asked the audience “whatever you’re doing now, will it be fantastic when we come out of the other side of this storm?” Adding that “you’ve a number of weeks or short months to think about what your business does and how or why”. Pivoting is a tech term, it describes when you’ve built something, and perhaps there’s not a product/market fit. Will says that then “you do what’s called a pivot, and do something different”
Act-ion: Whatever you decide to do, don’t knee jerk it. “When you’ve sat down and decided what your future course of action will be, act upon it and be decisive. It’s understandable to be worrying about short-term things, but you’ve got to think ahead and skate to where the puc is going to be”.
Cash: If you don’t have cash you don’t have optionality. Will says that right now, entrepreneurs “need to take some very active decisions in terms of minimising their cash burn. This will often include some tough decisions and might include laying off and/or furloughing staff. You’ve got to be really hard on yourself and look at the over-corrections that you need to make to keep you and your business alive”.
Enjoy: As much as this is an incredibly tough time with lots of tragedy, sadness, grief and upset in it, Will notes that “it is also an extraordinarily quiet time that can allow for entrepreneurs to re-centre their thinking. Embrace and de-clutter where you can and consider the societal shifts for when we come out of the other side”.
This is a brief write up of a webinar that was run by Fresh Business Thinking & supported by BT Skills for Tomorrow. In this challenging landscape, where business owners are searching for information and clarity more than ever, Fresh Business Thinking decided to call upon the experience and expertise of seasoned entrepreneurs to share ideas, advice, anecdotes and opinions via a virtual series of events for small businesses navigating COVID:19.
Fresh Business Thinking are proud to partner with BT, who are leading the way in supporting people and businesses with the skills they need and to stay connected during the Covid-19 crisis. BT Skills for Tomorrow programme was launched in 2019 to reach 10 million people, families and businesses across the UK with help to improve their digital skills by 2025.
You can see the full online event schedule here: https://freshbusinessthinking.heysummit.com/
Find out more about BT Skills for tomorrow here: https://www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/business.html