A lockdown story

Like many people who go to the gym regularly, when lockdown happened and the gyms closed I raced to the shops to buy some weights. I was too late, the shelves were barren apart from one solitary 4kg Kettlebell (basically a paperweight!), I bought it anyway.

Within two weeks adverts for resistance bands and weight free training equipment started popping up all over social media, so out of desperation I ordered a set, and waited, and then waited some more, and then emailed them to see we they were. I got a quick response saying that they had been ‘overwhelmed’ by orders and were desperately trying to get them from their warehouses to help their lovely customers (their words not mine).

Finally the day arrived, and the parcel with the resistance bands turned up, with excitement I literally ripped the packaging open to check them. I was slightly underwhelmed, they were clearly built in someones kitchen from bits they were able to order online. But they looked ok, so I went to the park to try them out.

10 minutes…

That is how long they lasted before I managed to break the first part, they were clearly massively under engineered. So dragging my feet I trudged home, took a picture, sent it to them and expected that to be that…

I quickly got a response, they were really sorry it had broken, and said they would send a replacement part, When they had them ‘back in stock’, I then waited for two weeks, and just assumed that was that, lesson learnt.

But another parcel turned up, with a better built replacement part and an apology for how long it took. So this is not a story of gloom, but a story for us all in business.

  • They saw an opportunity (people needing to exercise outside of the gym)
  • They designed a solution using what they had or could get quickly (bits from the Internet and their kitchen)
  • They did not wait, they knew that the window for this would be short
  • They advertised hard to maximise on it
  • They did not limit their thinking with ‘but how will we make them/deliver them?’
  • They stayed responsive and engaged
  • When they got feedback, they took it with grace, acted on it and rectified the problem
  • They now have a business they did not have before, because they were not risk averse and acted quickly

I think we all need this at the moment


Many small online businesses are basically just local shops that happen to sell online. It is really important that these businesses do not lose what is special about a small local shop, and are not seen as just a faceless ecommerce shop.

I would love to know your thoughts on this…