01 May 2020, 10:05 AM
  • Sonia Fox, director of Slightly Different, shares her experience of running a SME food business during the Coronavirus outbreak
Surviving Covid-19 as an SME

Our business, whilst small, saw an explosion in online orders through Amazon for the first two weeks of lockdown before settling down again as supermarkets managed to restock and the panic buying subsided. The demand for cooking sauces has exploded as I feel many people want to create easy meals. The fact that we tailor for the everyday consumer, vegans and IBS sufferers as a result of our FODMAP Friendly accreditation, we have certainly benefited since lockdown was announced.

Whilst COVD-19 is and will continue to be a tragedy for many families, and could lead to a number of businesses ceasing to trade, we have found it has provided the opportunity for us to assess where the business is now and most importantly how we should direct it going forward based on current circumstances.

We have increased our presence within the online market and a number of our independent retailers have adapted too and set up their own online sites to ensure their products keep moving. We have also managed to secure several new independent retailers who have seen the demand for products like ours. This may have happened in due course but lockdown has certainly accelerated this.

The biggest thing that will come out of lockdown for us is the time to focus on new product development. We have produced three new products which we had planned to launch next year, however this will now happen during the summer.

We have also realised that not having premises, staff and being self funded has taken the pressure off enormously and we feel we are positioned to weather the storm and continue with our business when things recover.

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