Candle maker of the year shares tips on how to manage a small business during a pandemic

We are living in an unpredictable time where a deadly virus has forced the world into a global pandemic.

During this time, corporate businesses have taken advantage of everyone being locked at home. Research FDI states that Amazon has reported a 70% increase in earnings in the first nine months of 2020. Moreover, Global News claims that Facebook revenue has increased 48%, due to the surge in digital ad spending as consumers shopped online.

On the other hand, small business owners have not matched the success corporate businesses have achieved. Statistics from Statista show that as of April 2020, nearly one-quarter of all businesses temporarily closed or paused during the pandemic.

Additionally, simply business claims that 61% of small business owners have had serious financial concerns at some stage of the pandemic, and 81% of small businesses said they have not had enough support from the government.

Nevertheless, some small businesses have managed to maintain success during the pandemic.

Amy Howden is the owner of a successful candle business – that is eco-friendly – located in Widnes. The business owner has not only managed to maintain success in her business throughout the pandemic but has also managed to grow her company.

Moreover, The Starlight Candle Company has been not only been promoted in Vogue, but has ben sent to independent store Flying Solo in New York , and has won many awards such as at the Candle Company of the Year at the Northwest and Manchester Prestige Awards 2020/2021.

However, a key reason why her business has been so successful in the pandemic is mainly due to her products. Howden explains that selling home-based products has been an advantage to her company, as “everyone was stuck at home; everyone started to spend their money on products that can be used at home instead of things like family days out or holidays”.

“Candles are a home product, and as everyone was at home people wanted to make their houses smell nice”.

The Starlight Candle Company sells various candle products – that have countless range of scents that once lit or melted, reach all around the house.

One of the most important pieces of advice Amy suggests is to search for, and if available use all of the government funds that are available to you specifically during the pandemic.

Howden stressed to “definitely be on the lookout for government grants or loans that are available at the moment”. The businesswoman was eligible to use the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) – a scheme that is now withdrawn. The scheme “absolutely helped me and my business” as it enabled small businesses to access finance more quickly during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the candle maker has noticed that since restrictions have eased her sales have “slightly” been impacted. However, Howden expressed the importance of using social media to market her company and products.

“As more people go back to work, and restrictions are easing, fewer people are staying at home meaning fewer people are buying stuff for their households. But social media has definitely helped me. Using free tools such as Facebook, and Instagram is beneficial for any small business”.

More importantly, Amy conveyed that word of mouth is her most impactful source of marketing as a small business owner.

“I think word of mouth has definitely helped me the most. What has helped the business is , myself, my friends, or my family spreading the name of my business to their friends or family”.

You can visit the Northwest and Manchester Prestige Awards candle company of the year 2020/2021 here.

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