EFFECTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS ON A SMALL BUSINESS - DAY 51 (10/05/2020)
After initially starting the blog some weeks ago to help us market the company so that we could keep staff employed and not have to lay people off or furlough them the fact of the matter is, it worked, I can’t thank you all enough for your support and help. The majority of big orders over the past 5 weeks have come directly from readers of this blog getting friends, family and neighbors to buy of us and getting business’s to as well.
I will continue the blog on a weekly basis now and it’s been really nice with people contacting and asking for an update and wanting to know how we are getting on. The last 5 weeks which I mention below can only be described as a roller coaster.
5 weeks ago when on the last blog we were giving hand sanitizer away to members of the Police, since than we have had in multiple shipments and we have sold to several Police Forces, Care Homes, NHS Hospitals and many other business’s and we now hold stock to sell to everyone and anyone but the market is flooded with sanitizer, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes us to sell what we have. As we come out of lockdown I am assuming that a lot of people will start buying ours as its 80% Alcohol and a lot currently on the market in the UK is counterfeit. We have also given hundreds and hundreds of bottles away to Hospitals, Care Homes, Police etc, I never thought we would be able to afford to do this but it was nice to do, I just pray we can sell the test we have left now.
Fidlock a German Company we distribute for that manufacture a fantastic range of buckles and now outdoor accessories have also been donating some of the New HERMETIC dry bags to several NHS Hospitals and we will be donating some aswell but as we look at coming out of lockdown this is a product that just about everybody should be using even if they are not working in the health care sector. I think over 10000 are being used now in hospitals but this is an outdoor product that is suitable for everyone. The transparent covering is touch screen and you can use your device inside it. I don’t want this to turn into a sales pitch so I will do a separate blog just on these bags but I wanted to say a massive thank you to our German friends for sending samples to the hospitals over here when I know they don’t have that many themselves at the moment never mind giving them away to us.
One product that has sold beyond belief is air rifle targets and we are talking about thousands and thousands of them, as far as sales go the trend has been over the past 5 weeks more sales but a lesser value and air rifle targets have proved a big part to play in this. They have not come without problems though, our guillotine broke over Easter weekend and we had masses of out of stocks but luckily on Bank Holiday Monday we had the engineer come out and fix it but that cost £780 and with COVID things like this have become harder to get done and more expensive. The printing business that runs out of CL, SG Print and Design have had no government help, although most standard printing has reduced to very low numbers the printing business gets nothing from the government, not a penny.
This week we have also had 3 of our sewing machines go out to be used by a local group that are making scrubs and face masks to donate to the NHS and Care Homes, these machines will be used to teach people how to make the masks and scrubs and if there are any machinists that are of a high standard at the end of the training we may be able to offer them a job.
On the manufacturing side, UK Outdoor Manufacturing have had a constant flow of work come in and have completed slings for a complete UK Police Force Armed Response Unit also Large team bags for Specialist Firearms Officers (Without singing the praises of the person who designed and made these too much, it is one of the best products we have ever made). We have been asked for and have supplied sample shooters belts to a number of other UK Police Forces, currently we supply Armed Police in 2 counter terrorism units with shooters belts and hopefully this will increase. We have also made samples for a massive belt order that runs to 10’s of thousands of belts, I don’t think we will get this order due to European companies that are also going in for it and they can manufacture so much cheaper than we can. But who knows? We have also picked up a contract to supply parts that are going on Fire Engines which is a nice contract to get and we were cheaper than what the Chinese had quoted for the same product.
I was surprised to find out as well that our business rates were taken out of the bank, I was under the impression that we wouldn’t have to pay any and it was impossible to get through to the rates office, after numerous calls to Sefton Council I did get through to a point of contact and they were really helpful and I don’t know if the business rates will be reimbursed or we will have to carry on paying them but they did give us the grant which we will reinvest as ever into the manufacturing and also on the website.
At this point as we prepare to come out of lockdown if you were to ask me what has kept us going, the answer is the dedication of all the staff who have turned up day in day out for the past 8 weeks, you our customers that have read and shared the blog and encouraged businesses and individuals to buy things like the sanitizer of us and if you don’t mind please continue to do this, we now have good stocks and its 80% alcohol so a lot better than most on the market.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried with what is to come ahead, a lot of people will run out of money especially as the furlough stops and business’s close down and start laying staff off, will people still have money to spend with us? I am confident in our products and we have some top end brands and are only adding more and more products to both our retail website and our trade website. If you know of any pet shops that want high quality dog toys and collars, leads etc. get them to register with www.cldistribution.co.uk this goes for outdoor and military stores that want to stock the Fidlock Bike range and the new waterproof bags etc. A lot of the products we distribute fit into a whole range of different areas from Outdoor, Military, Industrial, DIY Shops, Garden Centres, the list goes on, so if you know of a small business that would benefit from stocking some of our products get them to contact us. At times like this when people don’t have much money they will be more likely to turn to quality products like the ones we distribute that are innovative, environmentally friendly and built to last. As we come out of lockdown some shops could really increase their turnover and profit margins selling our products and maybe save them from closing.
Thanks very much for reading this and I encourage everyone who’s reading this to support small business’s at this time, not just ours and thank you again for all your support and everyone who messages and asks us how we are getting on, so far so good, please share and keep buyiong! Thanks again David