Business Leader recently spoke to Hugo Tilmouth, CEO of ChargedUp, to discuss how he reacted quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic to save his business and help out many others during these difficult times.
Can you give an overview of your company?
ChargedUp is Europe’s largest phone charging network. Building on the British philosophy to promote sustainable innovations, ChargedUp gives customers power-on-demand through its network of portable power banks. We also provide venues with a unique marketing tool that drives footfall and increases dwell time.
50 people work for the young company, which has expanded its charging network to over 3000 stations across the UK, Netherlands and Germany since 2017. The ChargedUp app now has around 210,000 users.
What changes have the company made since the COVID-19 outbreak?
In early March, we watched with dismay as the venues hosting ChargedUp stations closed their doors to the public and our core business revenue started to dry up.
Never one to sit around and wait for something to happen, we quickly got the fundamentals in place for remote working and for our staff financial security and then started the process of determining how we could do something worthwhile to fight COVID-19.
Within five days we had re-engineered our stock of 150 charging stations to hold hand sanitizer dispensers, sourced hand sanitizer and found homes for all the stations to help minimize the spread of COVID.
Should more businesses look to change their offerings to help the situation?
Absolutely, always look for opportunities to reinvent yourselves and your offering. We adopted a process-led approach to seek out new offerings that could help the COVID-19 battle.
We looked for the potential opportunities, prepared a business canvas model to assess our assets, skills and capabilities, and then brainstormed all sorts of crazy ideas. We noted them down, then discussed, reviewed and refined. We set up sub-teams to review the options with the greatest potential for success and then quickly acted to develop our CleanedUp offering.
All of this work must be done in a tight time-boxed timeframe to ensure you don’t become bogged down in obstacles.
We are literally in a fight for ours and our companies lives – so don’t become distracted.
How successful have the changes been?
Our adapted stations have proved very popular as they are the perfect size to position at the entrance to transport hubs, food production facilities, care homes, shops, etc. We are proud to say that some of the stations are going into NHS hospitals. We are continuing to receive inquiries from all sorts of venues.
This may indeed prove to have potential in the longer term. Our advice is to stay nimble and agile and never shut the door on fresh ideas.