How Popcorn Shed has managed to keep business sweet in lockdown

During difficult times, it’s important to treat yourself, and that’s the philosophy that’s keeping Popcorn Shed running. The award winning, UK-based Popcorn Shed produces delicious gourmet popcorn (in inventive flavours like goat’s cheese and cherry Bakewell) and was founded by cousins Sam and Laura. 

The founders are no strangers to adversity, having started the business out of Laura’s mother’s shed. But the coronavirus pandemic has posed an entirely new set of challenges. Here are some of the obstacles they have faced and how they overcome them. 

Adapting in uncertain times

Most of Popcorn Shed’s sales before the virus came from wholesale, mostly selling business to business including shops, cinemas, and various distributors. But orders suddenly evaporated as many of those in-person businesses had to close their doors. 

Popcorn Shed rapidly pivoted to selling to consumers, making all of the requisite changes to increase their online presence and redirect existing traffic online. Fortunately, the business has found that it has a stronger online presence than the founders first thought.

Over the course of the last few months we re-evaluated the existing campaigns we had running and took a different approach to targeting. Having built an audience base through our Instagram and our website, we moved away from targeting consumers through the use of keywords, and began utilising the existing data we had at our disposal,” says Laura. 

The campaign has resulted in an 1,200% increase from April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Redirecting your efforts

The Popcorn Shed was developing some exciting new products, but they’ve had to pause these efforts to redirect time and investment into online sales. 

Many businesses will face similar decisions and have to redirect funds earmarked for growth back into their core business. 

Remaining agile, however, is one major advantage that some smaller businesses have over larger, more established businesses. Popcorn Shed has discovered the incredible flexibility of its business model, and  will now have the option to return to wholesale, remain focused on direct sales, or even expand in both directions simultaneously post-Covid-19. 

Making the most of your time at home

Individuals are the heart of small businesses, and a crisis is also an opportunity to learn. “There is a lot of free advice out there; be adaptable and get yourself online,” advises Laura. At Xero, we offer a range of online courses for individuals looking to develop their skills while they work from home.  

It’s also critical that owners and employees of businesses take good care of themselves, as without them there is no business. This is especially important during stressful and arduous times like these. Laura has occupied herself with baking, home workouts, and virtual meet-ups with friends and family, and Sam has taken similar measures. What are you doing?

Visit our dedicated site for more inspirational stories, webinars and resources to help you navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. 


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