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Three great coronavirus rebuild stories from three British businesses

Change and adaptation during the immense pressure of the coronavirus outbreak don’t have to be huge and expensive. Find out how three enterprising business leaders experimented and pivoted in different ways to protect revenues and build for the future. Then click through for their full story.

Stationery store accelerates route to digital (CEO Sidonie Warren)

Physical retail isn’t going to see much growth for the next 12 months so Papersmiths extended its online offering. CEO Sidonie Warren is blending bricks and clicks, keeping the company’s five existing stores but pushing ecommerce as the biggest growth opportunity. She’s tweaking the website to reflect emerging customer needs – introducing a range of working from home products, self-development and journaling products, for example. Staff had been signing up customers in store for the past year so that’s given her an email list to work with now and she’s sending a newsletter to generate steady web traffic and sales.

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Luxury hotel chain targets the staycation market (MD Howard Hastings)

As they reopen seven luxury properties in Northern Ireland over the next couple of months, Hastings Hotels is focussing on the 4.5m holidaymakers south of the Irish border. Howard Hastings knew there was untapped potential, but it became compelling in a post-lockdown summer where overseas travel is off the cards for many. The chain’s typical seasonal trade is from coach loads of US customers “ticking Ireland off the list”. But closer to home visitors are more likely to turn into repeat visitors and produce a higher lifetime value.

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Accountants create lasting value with short-term thinking (Co-founder Paul Bulpitt)

The Wow Company has spent lockdown looking for ways to be helpful to customers in a crisis and running small experiments with new services to see what worked and what didn’t. After a first week of just listening to existing clients’ worries, Paul Bulpitt and his team set up a free HR helpline to answer clients’ employment law questions. Another innovation included a mental health helpline and portal. Even though these are additions that might not scale or even last into next year, they’ve yielded immense value for now and Paul is of the opinion that innovations don’t have to be scalable and permanent.

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