But when the global pandemic hit in early 2020, Mo Bro’s experienced an abrupt disruption in their manufacturing, and on top of that, massive supply chain issues that made it difficult to secure and fulfill inventory for their customers.
Even so – the three brothers found ways to overcome those issues and creatively pivot their business that they actually grew 500% in just a few months. Tune in to the episode above to get Keval’s key tips, or if you’re short on time, get the summary below.
Always have a Plan B – and maybe even a Plan C. “Something we do in threes – and it might be the power of three as we are three brothers – is we've always had plan A, B and C. So it's good to have a contingency plan and we did get through it. We're still here. We're stronger than we ever have been. We're still smiling. And that's the most important thing.”
Have someone to keep you accountable. “One of the best things I’ve done over the last couple of years is made myself accountable, not only to myself, but to accountable partners. So there are non-competitive business leaders that I can just pick up the phone to and it's a simple conversation of what you're going through, what you're feeling. And when you start understanding that problem is reoccurring and you're not the only one facing it, it makes you feel a little bit more at ease because it's a challenge that you're all going to face together and you're always contemplating with your thoughts when you've got that level of accountability to just reinforce those decisions."
Get creative with new campaigns . “When we hit lockdown here in the UK, all the barber shops closed and we had something we call the rise of the lockdown beard. Guys were thinking ‘I normally would never get the chance to grow a beard like this. So I'm going to grow the best beard ever.’ So we’ve had a fantastic uplift of nearly 500% – we sold six months’ worth of inventory in a single month.”
Rein in expenses. “Expenses [were] a real challenge and I think it's really important to bootstrap your expenses. So we downloaded bank statements and we looked at our outgoings, we looked at, what do we need as a business? What can we not have? And it's really important, I guess, to be as lean as possible. If there's any unnecessary expenses in a business’s current subscriptions or anything you didn't need, now's the time to unload them.”
Give back where you can. After hearing about the PPE shortage in local hospitals, Keval and his brothers thought about how they could help. “We looked at equipment that we had in house – we had laser-cutting machines, we had acetate, we had fabric. So we thought, well, what else can we do with this? So we started making visors and handing them out to the ambulance services. We found that sanitisers used by the hospital staff were given to them so we adapted one of our formulations and made a hand cream, which were given out. So we were able to give back and I always believe when you do that, you always get twice as much back in other ways.”
Get online. “I believed that 2020 was always going to be the beginning of digital revolution. You've got people like my mum who have never shopped online and during COVID, she was ordering her food shops and she was thinking, ‘Why haven't I done this? It's fantastic. I'm going to order all my food shopping online now.’ And this is someone who didn't grow with technology. I can understand for anyone listening that it can be daunting going into a new space. but that's where the biggest wins are. The biggest lessons I've learned over are about actually putting yourself into the deep end fast.”
Work with partners who can make growing globally, easy. “Something that was really good for us, where we've really benefited, over the years, was from the Global Sellers Program. You can actually take your products, have [your website] translated, and have [a] shipping service where you ship into a local hub. So for example, here in the UK, we ship to a PayPal hub. The currency, the checkout, everything gets translated. from an income match from the currency, the checkout, everything that gets translated. And you can get that set up within 15 minutes if you've already got an e-commerce presence - which is fantastic because we're not working and we're not selling in a localised marketplace anymore."
Partner with well-recognised brands and platforms to gain customer trust. "So we looked at marketplaces and one of the first marketplaces was eBay. This is, I guess, where our journey with PayPal began. PayPal was bolted into eBay and eBay became one of our largest marketplaces [for selling our products]. The most important thing, I guess, for customers that are shopping online was that they wanted the confidence to be able to purchase knowing that they'r egoing to get what they're buying and PayPal was able to help do that for us."
Keep it simple. “If I was to give anyone listening some tips, it’d be on the emphasis on simplicity. I'm a firm believer that prolific beats perfect. So just get it done. There's no level of perfection. Everyone's perception of perfection is different as well. So you are never going to achieve that. And remember the value that you offer is always much higher than what you think.
If you found Keval's story as inspiring as we did, tune in for more episodes of The Adaptables, featuring small business owners who have not only adapted to survive, but to thrive.