Follow the series from March to April 2020. How are our entrepreneurs 4 months later?
Suzanne Haeck is responsible for MaximaVida together with her partner. MaximaVida is a company specializing in garden furniture. Her bestseller is picnicktafel.nl.
How did you deal with business in these uncertain times?
Which measures are currently still active?
We learned a lot from the different scenarios we did in late March / early April. We now know even better how high our fixed costs are and how our sales are structured. We build up more reserves, if there should be another lockdown (or another crisis), we would like to be able to pay the fixed costs for 2-4 months.
What was the ultimate effect on our services / supply chain?
As mentioned, we were lucky with our spring deliveries and had little or no problems with the lockdown in Asia and Eastern Europe. For 2021, we will distribute purchasing more between different manufacturers in Asia and Europe in order to further spread the risks. In addition, we try to increase sales throughout the year by adding other products in addition to the high season patio furniture so that we are less dependent on this peak value.
Due to the huge peak in online orders in April, all transport companies in the Netherlands faced the challenge of getting everything to their customers on time. Due to the busyness there have been some delays in delivering the products to our customers, but due to the good cooperation with our regular suppliers and transport companies, this is going pretty smoothly!
What about the staff?
We were very well prepared for the normal seasonal rush and the expected 10-15% increase in sales. Fortunately, our part-time workers couldn’t go to school so they could work extra. We also tried to spread the peaks as widely as possible by also working with part of the team on Easter Monday and King’s Day. This enabled us to tackle the peak of April.
During the embargo period, we also placed contracts with the companies and self-employed people we normally work with. For example, we planned photo shoots with our photographers in our own backyard because they saw their schedules empty due to the lockdown. We have now hired a number of new people. B.
Since sales remain at a higher level, we can continue to invest in our team in the future.
What opportunities have we used in the past?
Thanks to the synergy of the entire online growth, the development of new products and the branding of our MaximaVida brand, we are achieving enormous leaps in sales. We use the cash flow that is released to develop new products and to be visible (online) so that we can accelerate more and more.
What opportunities do we see in the near future?
As people travel less, the focus has shifted to home and recreation in their own country, and it looks like it will stay that way for a while. Our range fits perfectly!
There is particular demand for online marketing and ICT. The shortage in the labor market is subsiding due to economic unease. This also brings good people to market.
Overall, 2020 has been a strange but very successful year for us so far. Hopefully we can keep this positive vibe!
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