Helping businesses look to the future

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Businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been using the enforced lull in activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic to look at how they can do things differently and change tack in the future.

According to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, the initial shock that followed the lockdown in late March has for many businesses given way to a more reflective mood as they contemplate what the future may look like.

The Growth Hub provides free and impartial help to new and established businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, signposting them to business support and advice. It has been promoting a campaign called Pause, Plan, Go, encouraging businesses to take stock while they are less busy and think about what’s next.

Matt Borne, business connections manager at Growth Hub, said: “When Covid-19 started we had a huge number of calls from businesses who were being impacted or had just been stopped by the outbreak.

“Most of them were asking for help in finding their way to the right support programmes that the Government set up. But also, many just wanted to talk to a human being, to somebody who would listen to their problems and who was sympathetic.

“Now we are getting more and more calls from businesses that are starting to think about growth again and moving forwards. They have been using the enforced pause of lockdown to spend time working on their business. That includes making sure they are selling their goods and services to all the markets they can, and our team has spent a lot of time helping businesses to look beyond Cornwall where the market is vastly bigger.”

One business taking stock is Porthleven-based design company Design79. Director Simon Green said he was using lockdown as a time to revisit the company’s marketing: “Now we’re not so busy I’m taking the opportunity to improve our website, improve our marketing collateral, and update our portfolio and show reel. I’m going to implement a better marketing strategy because I have the time to do so.”

Meanwhile textile designer and print maker Helen Round in south east Cornwall has diversified her hand-crafted linen homeware and kitchenware range to include two-layered linen face masks.

She said: “The development of that product took a bit of time, but it’s been worth it in the end. We weren’t planning it so it’s been really interesting to see how quickly as a business we can respond to change.”

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