Stirling Murray, Managing Director of The Red Tree, gives his thoughts on the current climate and his 7 tips for managing the unknown:
There is no one who could have predicted the surreal and at times frightening world that is now our reality.
We are facing the unknown with an intensity like never before. The Corona Virus has shattered our thinking that life always runs in a linear fashion. Maybe it never has. It’s just that our way of comprehending life was built on a foundation that after A came B and then C and D and so on. Even more so in business where we may find that Covid-19 is the biggest disruptor of all.
This crisis has taught us – if we didn’t know this before – that we have no control over most of what happens. Yet the things we can control – our reaction to events – needs to step up big time.
So 7 thoughts on how to manage the unknown.
Plan for the future but take each day at a time.
It’s a balancing act that asks you to think long term but demands you place attention on making sure that each day you move your business forward. Standing still and waiting for events to unfold is not an option. You need to keep advancing – with baby steps if necessary.
Think deeply about what your target market really needs.
Does your product offer meet this and, if not, what changes can you make to become ever closer to your customers? Look at your products with a fresh eye. Ask yourself if you would purchase every SKU in your range? Answer honestly and if your range needs to be edited then plan to do so. NPD should reflect your new critical thinking. How will new products provide an impetus to growth? Do they add value to your brand portfolio? If not, why are you wasting effort and money in introducing them?
Use this strangest of times to develop a sense of urgency in how you look at your business.
What can you change for the better quickly? What would do if you were starting afresh? What’s your time line to make more demanding changes and how will you tackle those changes?
Are you communicating in the most creative way you can?
Your words should be genuine and inspiring. All of us are creative – it’s just that we become cowered in the face of those who dedicate their lives to creating art, music, writing and so on. Read more, speak more, inspire more, create more! Your business can only benefit from this.
All things must pass and this will too so plan for that now!
Your business needs to come out of this at full speed – what we call “RaceFit”, our programme for getting brands racing fit. Waiting for normality to return is too late to think about how you are going to drive your business forward. In these times planning positively for the future (see point 1) can never start too early.
I am uncertain who said this first but “sales is vanity, profit sanity and cash is king” are the wisest words you need to follow and never more so than now.
Conserve cash, make sure you are reviewing the financial metrics of your business every week, and take advantage of every piece of help the Government is offering. If the future for your business looks bleak then however difficult, discuss this with everyone you can. Help may come in the most unexpected way. In these circumstances there is nothing to be ashamed of but if you clam up nothing will happen.
Your team is the most important asset you have.
Make sure the priorities of the business are clear. Keep everyone informed, motivated and inspired. When you talk with your team don’t just focus on business. The Red Tree team has a daily catch up call at 9:00 – our water-cooler moment – where the first conversations are never to do with our business. That’s part of our normal culture so why stop that just because we are working remotely. Leading when facing the unknown is not easy but leaders provide direction, clarity and most importantly hope.
For any business at this time, the unknown is frightening and random but it’s a mistake if you choose helplessness over action, resignation over positivity and despair over hope. Each of these are two sides of the same coins. I hope this helps in choosing the right side of each coin. I wish you continued success.
Your team is the most important asset you have.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
Middle East Beauty Hub
Explore our series of articles uncovering the intersection of tradition, innovation, and regulation within the nuanced Middle Eastern beauty markets.
Female Founders: The Lip Gloss Gap
Our series of articles highlighting how the UK beauty industry plays a vital part in closing the female fundraising gap.
New to the beauty industry? Our Founder Hub series brings together an array of articles covering topics from the costs of starting a new brand, to our recommended branding agencies.
Meet The Team
Get to know each of The Red Tree team members with our interview series. From our favourite campaigns to tips on how to enter the beauty industry.
Our series of articles exploring our fitness test for beauty brands. The unique RaceFit™ questionnaire allows you to quickly review the 7 building blocks crucial to brand success.
The Beauty Accelerator™
Read our series of articles focusing on The Beauty Accelerator™, which sees one emerging independent beauty brand receive equity investment plus the knowledge and expertise of The Red Tree.
Is RaceFit™ for me?
Is RaceFit™ right for my brand?
RaceFit™ assessment is beneficial to any brand at any stage of their journey. If you are: - A start up looking for direction and guidance - An established brand seeking an overall ‘health check’ - A brand in crisis urgently seeking direction on priorities - An international brand looking to expand into the UK market - A brand ready to take their ‘next step’ looking for guidance in preparation for growth, international expansion or expanding distribution then RaceFit™ is for you!
What if I am unsure of how to answer a question?
You should answer honestly and instinctively. Very often your initial response will be the most accurate. If you don’t understand a question, or are having difficulty knowing how to answer questions please do get in touch.Contact Us
I am based outside of the UK, can I complete RaceFit™?
Yes, the RaceFit™ self-assessment programme is entirely virtual so you can get started straight away, no matter where in the world you are.
Any company entering The Beauty Accelerator™ competition must be based and registered in the UK.
The scheme by which investment into the winning brand will be made is the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). You must be eligible for SEIS to enter The Beauty Accelerator but you do not need to be registered for SEIS. You can be in the process of applying for SEIS and receiving Advanced Assurance from HMRC, which is free of charge to obtain and certifies to investors that the criteria necessary to qualify for SEIS have been met by the company at the time of the application. You do however need to be SEIS registered at the point of investment.Click here For further information about SEIS
As is the case with all equity investments, the winning brand must be willing to provide equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree. In addition, the winning brand might be required to pay a monthly fee for the duration of the 12 month period of assistance from The Red Tree. The size of the equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree are unknown at this stage and will be based on the valuation of the business at the time of investment. The value of the monthly fee to The Red Tree will be determined by the scope of work required by The Red Tree and will be agreed in consultation with the winning brand. The equity stake, monthly fee and scope of work will be discussed in further detail with short listed brands during the interview stage.
Brands that applied for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2022 can apply for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2024.
Applicant brands should ideally have proof of concept – the business should ideally be in operation with at least one product currently retailing on the market, an existing website in operation and a number of months of trading.
Under exceptional circumstances, brands that are at concept stage will be considered.
There should be a team in place or a willingness to take on a co-founder at an early stage.
A business plan must be in place and submitted as part of your application to demonstrate the revenue that can be delivered.
The business should not be valued at more than £1,000,000.
All R&D should be completed as funds invested will only be used for marketing and commercial activity.
If you are short listed, you must be available to attend the virtual shortlist interview. It is likely that short listed brands will be required to attend more than one virtual interview.
If you are a Finalist, you must be able to attend The Beauty Accelerator™ Final, either virtually or in-person.
You cannot apply for or already be in the process of applying for another accelerator or incubator during the period December 2023 to December 2024.
If you are selected as a finalist, and if you go on to win The Beauty Accelerator™, you must agree to exposure of you and your brand through The Red Tree’s, SFC Capital’s and Freeths online and social channels and a possible marketing campaign.
Confirmation of the winning brand is subject to SEIS eligibility confirmation, agreement on equity stake and The Red Tree fee, and completion of due diligence.
"*" indicates required fields