Achieving success in the order fulfilment, packaging and distribution industry during and after the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Little Gin Company was founded in 2015, born out of a friendship between business owners Nicola and Emma and their love of Gin. They converted a retro-style horse trailer into a mobile gin bar and began serving a selection of locally distilled and speciality gins at weddings, corporate events and group gin tasting sessions.
When COVID-19 and lockdown hit the UK in March 2020, it hit their hopes and dreams hard – how could they operate without events and public gatherings?
“The initial phone call with Kevin was a critical moment for us within our ‘lockdown’ journey. He was so confident that we should see this as an opportunity for the business, we completely reframed our thinking from that point on. Prior to that conversation our strategy was to survive (at best!!) – we never thought we could THRIVE!”, said Nicola.
The first step was prioritising their workload
Both Nicola and Emma are mums to young children. Lockdown restrictions meant that as their business faced new and challenging economic circumstances, childcare was unavailable and time to work on the business became a scarce resource. Kevin coached them on the importance of prioritising and setting realistic goals.
Empowered and motivated, they set about devoting every spare minute to the business, working during naps, after bed time and before their children woke in the mornings.
The second step was pivoting their business
They changed the focus away from being a mobile gin bar at events to being an online retailer for bottles of their unique ‘Trailer Made Gin’. They also began cross selling to their sister business and website, ‘Queen Cleo Spiced Rum’. They had over 100 orders for bottles of gin/rum in the first 3 months of pivoting their business versus 10 bottle sales for the whole of 2019. And that increase kept on improving month after month.
In place of in-person events, they promoted virtual tasting sessions. They identified this as a way to bring friends, families and colleagues closer during lockdown – and it was an instant success! Accommodating up to 20 guests at a time, they have hosted people from all over the UK, widening their target audience and tapping into previously unreachable territory.
Kevin coached them on the importance of ‘financial mastery’ which resulted in the creation of KPIs for their website and a new focus on numbers. They began using Google analytics to track website activity on a weekly basis and understand how that related to bottle sales, enquiries, bookings and total revenue.
Under Kevin’s guidance, they are continuing to strengthen their sales process to improve their conversion rate using website automation and following a strict enquiry follow up process.
The third step was tracking their ROI on social media marketing
They started with a small advertising budget on Facebook and monitored their return on investment. By investing £70 (£10 per day) they doubled their revenue in a week, making it clear this was a profitable marketing avenue. They have since ramped up their social media efforts, engaged a digital marketing company and increased their marketing budget.
How coaching has helped their business
Engaging in business coaching with Kevin has been a game changer for The Little Gin Company. The timing of ‘finding each other’ could not have been better. Instead of allowing the COVID-19 crisis to destroy the business they had so lovingly built, Nicola and Emma have turned every opportunity it has presented into a success.
By January 2021, their turnover increased by 1.5x (2020 vs 2019), they had a 3x increase in gross profit and 8x increase in net profit.
They both value the importance of an external input in their business, someone who holds them accountable, asks the right questions, drives them forward and supports them in achieving their goals. They now have a completely different business model to previous years and are offering services they had never considered before.
Nicola sums up their coaching journey so far by saying, “Kevin has helped us to really understand our potential, through many inspiring/motivational conversations, crunching numbers, improving our processes, consistently measuring what we are delivering and achieving, and at times offering up some brutal honestly that we really need to hear! Kevin helps us to be accountable for how we continue to push forward and grow the business, even in these challenging times.”