We're all a bit fatigued after a full year of the Pandemic.There's been so much bad news everywhere we turn.
The team here at Drogheda Chamber have supported and celebrated the resilience, creativity and courage of our entrepreneurs over thelast year. And now it's time to celebrate those that have been nimble in adapting to the changing situation. Those that have pivoted. That have used thelockdowns as opportunities to future fit and develop their businesses further.
Over the last few months, we have been interviewing some of these businesses and sharing some of the positivity and good news that we see.
This week we are talking with Bridget Kerrigan - from BAM MEDIA.
Tell us about your pre pandemic Business status
BK: Bammedia is a creative design studio based here in Drogheda run by myself, Bridget and my husband Cormac Kerrigan. Pre Covid, we were probably best known for designing impactful branding, packaging and marketing collateral. We are a small agency with 3 full time staff and a fewfreelance collaborators.
What was the initial impact on your business & howdid you react?
BK: When Covid hit, we like everyone else thought ‘this is abit scary’ but thankfully our nearest and dearest were all safe and well, and all we had to do was to stay at home for a few weeks. Never could we have imagined the year ahead juggling the new reality of ‘working from home’ (or‘ living in work’) alongside home-schooling and zoom after zoom meetings. Being cloud based, we were already set up for remote working and this allowed work to carry on normally and relatively easily for the first few weeks, albeit with a few interruptions from kids or pets photobombing zoom calls. But after the initial few weeks, we could see pipelines for new work falling away and we soon realised that we were heading into unchartered territory.
What changes did you make in order to cope or pivot / andto adapt to the situation?
BK: Having set up Bammedia at the start of the last recession, I always felt like we were small, agile, digital and therefore well equipped to adapt, and adapt we did. Our immediate actions were to audit cashflows, collect outstanding debts and tighten up any unnecessary expenditure. The biggest change however was the pivot in our web and digital service offerings. We had always offered web design, but we didn’t shout about it that loudly and it only accounted for 20% of revenue in 2019. When the Local Enterprise Offices nationally announced they were funding 90% of costs of websites, we tailored all of our digital and web offerings to suit this price point, so that companies struggling to get set up to sell online could do so at minimal cost to themselves. We advertised our digital and web services, and at the end of 2020, this sector of the business accounted for 80% of all revenue. Quite simply it kept us very busy and it kept us going
What supports, grants, aids helped the most?
BK: We reached out to the LEOs straight away and got approved as a supplier for Trading Online voucher recipients. We also availed of a sales and finance mentor sponsored by Louth LEO for the first 6 months of the first lockdown, which ensured we had a solid practical financial plan in place. The support we got from our local business and networking groups was also invaluable, from the Brown Bag Lunches with other business owners at The Mill to the regular catch ups with Drogheda Chamber and Network Louth members. These connections with our local business community while we were so isolated were a brilliant place to access information, get tips on how other businesseswere managing, and even on a pure social level, it was lovely to see and chat to familiar faces.
How are you feeling about business as we begin to plan toemerge from the lockdowns, and as vaccinations roll out?
BK: Excited. Since earlier this year, in the most recent lockdown, we have seen an optimistic upturn in business, with lots of our clients using their down time to reassess how their brand works post covid, update their offerings and indeed their marketing, and so, as our ‘regular’ business thankfully bounces back we are looking forward to getting back to business as usual, whilst retaining a new digital market share
Finally … What's your top piece of advice for other businesses?
BK: I think everyone will agree that the workplace has changed dramatically. Like many business owners, I found myself time-poor pre-Covid. One of the major changes of the pandemic has been the mainstream acceptance of digital technology from zoom to ecommerce and the benefits thatthey can offer. I relish the fact that we can easily meet clients from down the country digitally, and that a 30 minute meeting now means 30 minutes and not 2 hours with travel and traffic. This has led to a shift in traditional thinking favouring productivity over time at the desk, a ‘work-smart’ school of thought that doesn’t necessarily mean a 9-5 day. And as much as I look forward to the social aspect of actual face to face meetings again, I do hope that we don’t forget about the amazing personal benefits (for ourselves and our employees) of remote working and video technology and the role they can play to ensure a healthier happier post pandemic work life balance.
So my top piece of advice is “Work smart” and “Say Noto meetings-about-meetings!”
If you'd like to be featured in this series - We'd love to hear from you
@Drogheda & District Chamber.