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How Smart Screen Successfully Launched in Lockdown19th March 2021
While many businesses have faced struggles over the past year, and some have even been forced to close, it has also been a hugely popular time for new businesses to launch. Not only have people had to create new career paths for themselves, they have also been inspired to set up side businesses, or have been inspired to finally take the plunge and start the project they’ve always been passionate about.
At JMW Solicitors, we have interviewed a number of businesses that have adapted to the challenges the pandemic has brought and have decided to launch their own businesses. In this post, we will be speaking to Smart Screen.
Smart Screen is a revolutionary, high-end quality cleaning cloth that has been specially designed to keep your phone, tablet or any other smart device looking brand new. It has a unique antibacterial silver ion agent introduced into the weave process, meaning it is effective for up to 15 washes. We caught up with founder David Cant to see exactly how and why he set up Smart Screen during this difficult time.
Was there something in particular that inspired you to launch your business during the pandemic?
Living in London, commuting makes up a large part of everyone’s day (excluding current lockdown times!). It’s not as horrendous as people outside of the city may think - it’s a great way to take some time out, to relax with a device or to simply people watch. I love my tech, and find it a great way to catch up on the news or a TV series. I’ve always been partial to people watching and it was on my commute I observed how many people are always glued to their phones, then would clean away grease, grime and fingermarks just by wiping the screens on their jeans, handkerchief, a jacket sleeve - you name it, they used it!
A lot of people are not cleaning their devices, whether that be mobile phone, laptop, tablet or even glasses, properly and when I did some research it soon became apparent why: there wasn’t a product that was specifically made to make it easy! Not a lot of people are aware of how to look after and clean their tech, which is a shame. The idea of ‘Smart Screen’ came to me to meet this need and to have a product that can be taken on every journey people take. The development of this idea couldn’t have come at a more pressing time with the emergence of COVID-19 shortly after we started getting the business’ wheels in motion.
What do you feel makes your business unique or special? Why are you passionate about it?
Smart Screen is the gold standard of microfibre cleaning cloths. Each cloth has Blue Shield, a silver ion solution, introduced into the materials’ weave, allowing us to boast having the world’s first antibacterial microfibre cleaning cloth specifically dedicated to cleaning smartphones on the go.
Have you had to adapt your products or services along with the regular updates and change in rules, etc.? For example, do certain restrictions mean you have to change the way your business works at all?
We haven’t had to adapt our products due to any regulation changes, but we are always thinking about other product options that we can offer our loyal customer base and help further expand the ‘Smart Screen’ brand.
Tell us something positive that you have learnt or experienced throughout the launch of your business during what has been, for many, a difficult and uncertain time.
One of the most positive things to come out of lockdown has been the amazing team of people who have been working with us on the Smart Screen brand. Their expertise has helped us make informed decisions in a fast-changing world. Whether it be the handling of shipping in these precarious times, the writing of a press release to meet new audiences, new design ideas, creative web design, sensational photography for the website, all have played a huge part in our success to date and we thank them all.
What were the biggest struggles or challenges that you faced?
We needed to constantly change our expectations of how the product would be marketed. With no retail open and no-one commuting on trains and no travel for the foreseeable future we needed to access people at home and needed to take our business fully on-line. This meant the need for a slick website and turning to blogs and press to help keep us seen.
Did you receive any financial support for the launch of your business? Or did you build the company from scratch?
Our plan had always been to grow organically and to keep full ownership of the company. To date, we have not required financial support.
Did you have concerns about the success of your business due to the current climate?
Our business plan was firmly in place before embarking on launching Smart Screen, but the emergence of COVID-19 was an unknown entity in regards to how it would affect our business. On the one hand, the product itself with its antibacterial properties is ideally placed to provide any consumer peace of mind that they’re able to quickly clean something that most of us are glued to on a daily basis. However, on the flip side, this product was designed with travel and commuting in mind - the strict lockdown restrictions over the last twelve months have undeniably changed that landscape for the foreseeable so quickly we have prioritised working with other sectors for the time being!
At what moment did you feel you had made the right decision, and the business had succeeded?
As an ambitious new start-up, we have our sights set very high and will always be striving to reach new audiences, work within a wider sector range and expand globally as the appeal of the product grows.
Has launching your company inspired you to start any other new projects or businesses?
No, we are focussed on solely growing this business due to the wide scale potential it offers, ensuring that all marketing activity, retail relationships and future product development plans are shaping up accordingly, ready for when life for most returns to some version of ‘normal’ once again!
What do you think the future of your company might look like in a post-COVID world?
As travel restrictions ease, retail outlets can re-open their doors and large-scale events get the green light to go ahead once more. The additional possibilities, not just for our business but every sector within the economy, will be welcomed with open arms. As we write this, we are waiting with baited breath for the roadmap announcement that should buoy both consumer and trade confidence in taking steps towards business as we once knew it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from becoming a business owner during this period?
Keep calm, ideas and decisions are better made when not rushed. Strong teams are crucial. Don’t try to move into lots of different markets too quickly. Get the one product bedded down before expanding into other areas. Watch all spend. Expect to work long hours when you start up a new business.
What advice would you give someone that is thinking about setting up a business now? What are three things you wish you’d have known?
- Be ready for the unexpected, there will always be challenges
- Do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to have a product successfully designed and manufactured
- If you are building an internet business, make sure you are in good hands when preparing your website, Google Analytics, etc.
Read about other successful businesses that launched during the pandemic.