In the past six months, many business owners have been learning that they have to adapt or stagnate to meet the evolving market needs in this new world. In our series, “Adapting Your Business to New Norms”, we talk to our Business Customers about about how they have moved to strengthen their offering during the pandemic and what learnings they can share to help other Irish business owners and sole traders.

Constantly look ahead at the technology coming downstream that is relevant to your business – Mark Reilly, Managing Director, AFM Ireland

Mark Reilly, Managing Director of AFM Ireland, set up the cleaning company in 2006 specialising in industrial, contract cleaning services and the provision of eco friendly products, janitorial supplies, catering supplies, medical consumables and specialised chemicals. From 2011 – 2019, the company successfully increased turnover by 80% and added facilities management to their multiple product offerings. Then Covid hit.

According to Mark “The initial affect of Covid was the closure of many of our customer premises, and there was a lot of panic and uncertainty out there. We deal with a lot of office spaces and gyms – both of these were hit with unexpected closures, so we had to sit down and work out how to adapt.

Luckily we were in a position to react quickly and we could offer Covid specific services – like deep cleaning, fogging-  services that are now vital to keeping all premises safe.

Our biggest issue in the first few months of Covid, was late payments from our customers – extending our Invoice Discounting Facility from 90 to 120 days has been a huge help in getting around this. Having said that, with nearly all of our customers reopened at this stage, and we expect strong growth over the next few months.”

Technology also played a big part in AFM’s ability to meet Covid market needs.

“Luckily, we are always watching the new sector specific technology that is coming down the line, and last year, pre-Covid we had invested in electrostatic disinfection – basically it’s a gun that puts a positive charge in a room to eliminate any negative charges – bacteria, virus etc. luckily we invested. I just wish we had bought more of it! But its really taught me to step outside of the businesses day to day operational issues and look at the bigger picture strategically – its been key to growing our business and a large part of the reason we are doing as well as we are today.

The governments wage subsidy scheme has also eased cashflow pressures and has allowed us to focus on growth. That has really helped us as a business.”

To find out more about AFM click here

To find out more about Invoice Discounting click here