UK Small Business/Covid/Brexit News (30-DEC-2020). No embargo, for immediate use.
Ex London Cop Aaron Henriques Rescues Business From COVID Bust After UK Government Grant Rejection
A former police officer turned Entrepreneur from London, Aaron Henriques, saves his cleaning business from going bust, rescuing over 35 jobs in England and Wales, after 90% of customers cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite being rejected for UK Government grants and encourages other entrepreneurs to spend more on marketing now.
In winter 2017, Aaron Henriques left a decade of policing behind to pursue his passions for starting and running a business. He had set up and run a successful cleaning company operating in London and Cardiff whilst working in the police and explored other business opportunities after leaving the force. He was surprised when he found himself being invited to 10 Downing Street in 2018 to discuss small business strategy right at the heart of government.
Everything was going well until he, like many other business owners, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, it looked as though there would be wide-ranging support for small businesses until his accountant gave the bad news that he and other small company directors were not going to be eligible for any UK government grants or even furlough.
Within the first two weeks of the first UK national lockdown in March, Aaron noticed that close to 90% of his customers with the bulk of cancellations being in Cardiff, that had taken years to build up, cancelled their contracts. It is by pure chance that Aaron had sold his house just a few months before and had enough money to save his business from failure during the first lockdown.
“When I started to see the cancellations come in so fast and my bills staying about the same, it was just lucky timing that I had sold my house a few months before. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to save the business and jobs for my team, who rely on me to provide work for them in order to survive and I probably wouldn’t have been able to pay my mortgage either” says Aaron.
After the first UK national lockdown, Aaron who also owns a digital marketing and SEO company, HandlrSEO, took the risky decision to invest heavily in marketing knowing there was real uncertainty that another lockdown could come at any point. “It was a huge risk, I knew I wouldn’t have enough money to save it for a second time” Aaron said.
Many small service businesses who had survived and invested started to see growth for the first time in months. For Aaron’s cleaning business, he started to see growth unlike any he had seen before. “We were taking on about 200% more new clients per month during this time and that was good because many of the cleaners who are self-employed contractors really needed the work and they would not get the support they needed. I’d say to other entrepreneurs don’t try to save and hideaway from this, get yourself out there now and save your business”.
When the second national lockdown was announced it was very much a watch, hope and pray scenario. To Aaron’s delight, there were very few cancellations during the second lockdown or since the tier system has been put in place. The customer numbers are back to pre-COVID levels and things are looking promising for 2021.
Today Aaron reflects on the experience saying, “Peoples attitudes have really changed since the first lockdown. There was so much uncertainty before and we’ve learned how to adapt and live with this now. It is a positive time with many new opportunities opening up for lots of entrepreneurs out there”.
Bizarrely, Aaron has been quite positive about the government response to the pandemic, despite not receiving any grants or furlough until the rules were changed in November, enabling him to claim some furlough during the winter period.
“I think the government have done a lot. Although they couldn’t help me, I think the country could be in a much worse place than it is today had the support packages not been available to so many others. My biggest problem will now be recruiting new staff. Some of our very best cleaners over the years have been from Europe and with the run-up to Brexit we’ve found it much harder to recruit.”
END (717 WORDS)
Aaron Henriques is a British Entrepreneur, former Metropolitan police officer of 10 years and private fixed-wing pilot since 2009 who is undertaking professional pilot studies. His business mission is to challenge the status quo in the B2B online service business SaaS industries, enabling financially accessible services for small businesses without prohibitive terms. In aviation, Aaron created an aircraft sales and finance business. He aims to be financially successful so that he can in the future provide annual flying scholarships for underprivileged children in the UK and give them the head start he never had when growing up in Islington & Hackney council estates.
Aaron Henriques: https://aaronhenriques.com
- Aaron Henriques at Downing Street, Summer 2018 (Owned by Aaron Henriques)
- Aaron Henriques In Met Police (Owned by Aaron Henriques)
Aaron Henriques, Director of Digital Business Enterprises Ltd
T: +44 (0)20 3865 2504
E: [email protected]
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