Trent, our Managing Director, has managed many successful businesses over the years. Perhaps the biggest, and the most rewarding challenge has been his shift to an online space with two of his e-commerce companies, Truth Naturals and Truth Origins. Learning and deciphering the virtual world of business has its pros and cons, but in his eyes, it is definitely the way forward. And there has never been a more urgent time to make this transition.
Trent has recently had to move his third business online, a London-based Martial Arts and Strength gym. Luckily he has the tools and skills to make this a smoother move. We hope this blog will help give you some insight into the most crucial parts of running an online business, and how to make the shift right now.
“This is the monumental moment of all of our lives. As individuals, we have been given time for ourselves (let’s make the most of it). Businesses need to adapt & innovate, or the world will pass them by.
Thanks for taking some time to talk us through a topic that many can really gain some insight from right now! How many businesses are you currently juggling?
I have 3 main companies that I’m focused on at the moment.
Truth Naturals –our online CBD company
Truth Origins – my nutrition company formed with my best friend Dr Harry
Elevate Martial Arts/ Richmond Fitness Club – my Martial arts and Strength Gym that has sadly closed due to the virus, but we're in the middle of moving online.
What has been the most difficult part of that transition?
Trying to support my team, my customers and ALSO keep the business alive. These challenges are unprecedented, and we are all just hoping it corrects as quickly as possible.
I guess with the current climate, most business owners are really fearful of what is to come. With this in mind, would you call yourself an optimist or realist?
I’m a rational optimist most of the time. I like to see good in the world, but am aware of all the challenges.
What is your current attitude to the state of business right now?
This is the monumental moment of all of our lives. As individuals, we have been given time for ourselves (let’s make the most of it).
Businesses need to adapt & innovate, or the world will pass them by.
What do you base your forecasting off?
Every business has different KPI’s. They are usually based on past performance and future goals. But with an uncertain future, each business needs to prepare for a bumpy ride until Summer.
What are your top resources to tune into or read to navigate these times?
HIBT Podcast –a great resource for anyone running a business, or want to start running one. Every successful company struggled at some stage, it is inevitable. But only successful leaders can overcome those challenges and move the business forward. This podcast is a great resource.
Who moved my Cheese –the best book about the psychology of “Change” I’ve ever read
Stoics – I’ve heard about them for years, but Ryan Holiday’s modern interpretation has finally opened this rich world view up to me.
What can businesses learn from this crisis in your opinion?
Hopefully, the WFH model sticks and we form stronger local communities. Most people spend 1-2hrs commuting to an office; now they can stay at home and use that time to improve their health instead!
The emerging management styles will be a form of Task-based Management. You shouldn’t care when or where your team works, you should just ensure they deliver.
For an aspiring entrepreneur, where should they start if they haven’t gone into an online space before?
Spend this time researching your product/service & competitors
Get clear on your USP (unique selling point). How are you different?
Get some free training on Youtube or sign up for a month of LinkedIn Premium.
Manage cashflow strictly. And if that is not your strong point, find somebody skilled.
What are your top essentials to run an online business?
Tenacity & Curiosity – if you get overwhelmed by decisions, and struggle to overcome multiple hurdles, this type of business format may not be right for you.
Recruitment quality is essential –knowing exactly what skills are needed, and how to interview people will determine the quality of the team you form.
Be nice – to your team, to your customers and to your suppliers.
What would you call your management style?
I like to think my style is supportive, challenging, and transparent. I prefer to work with people that really care about our mission.
Do you change this style based on the person?
Always. Every one of us is different emotionally & professionally. The messages are the same to all of my team, I just adjust the delivery depending on the person.
How do you find the right employees? What do you look out for?
I try and hire good people, then train them in our business. It is so much easier then training skilled people how to be good.
I recruit very carefully and ensure anyone new joining my team fits into our culture – we are all different people but we bond over one common goal. “Let’s build the best Gym/ Nutrition company in the world.”
In the online space, video conferences seem crucial; how regularly do you have 1:1 meetings?
I have weekly team meetings and fortnightly 1 on 1s. When people first start with me I spend far more time with them training them up and making sure they feel comfortable, once I know they are performing well, I can tick that off my list and I'll move to the next task.
What are you doing to manage your own stress and fear/ uncertainty?
Movement – not easy in Lockdown but luckily I train online with some of my tribe, and have moved my Gym online - and that keeps us strong and healthy. I train BJJ fanatically and I have had to stop during the lockdown. I miss training with my friends and sharpening my skills.
Meditation - I meditate for 10 minutes every day BEFORE turning on my computer or phone. Some days I miss it, and I’m never as productive.
CBD -We all need a little extra help in a time like this. I use CBD daily and have been using our strongest Platinum blend right now to help relax at night and get better sleep.
“ We support each other through humour, sharing lockdown tactics and more frequent Zoom meetings.
How do you maintain the calm for your employees?
In my 3 main businesses, my team members are also my friends (and workout partners). I am transparent with them about my thinking and our situation and encourage them to upskill with any downtime. We support each other through humour, sharing lockdown tactics and more frequent Zoom meetings.
What good can come out of this from a business standpoint?
Economic cycles usually shake out the weak performers in any industry. This will shake out every industry in every country (that will be good for consumers). It will also lead to an influx of new online businesses from people that have upskilled during lockdown and have a strong purpose.
We hope you have enjoyed this Q&A with Trent! Want to meet him virtually and ask more questions? We are running an Instagram Live session with him very soon!
Shani Kaplan is a contributing writer for Truth Naturals. She combines her knowledge gained from working within the fitness/wellness industry in Sydney and London for the last seven years as a Personal Trainer, and class instructor, with her addiction to research due to her BA in Business Marketing. Shani loves martial arts, resistance training, dance and yoga, nutrition, travel, design, photography, and art.
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