They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and throughout the pandemic, we've seen numerous businesses spring up to meet newly realised needs.
Lucy Flinter, founder of Zero Procure, created her company to steer others through the choppy waters of last year. Her company has since gone from strength to strength and she remains optimistic about the ways in which Zero Procure can pivot to evolving demands.
Hi Lucy, could we start by learning a bit about Zero Procure?
Sure, Zero Procure was conceived and launched during the 2020 pandemic out of a desire to support affected industries. We’re a procurement company with a difference. We offer our customers simplified procurement with zero cost, zero risk, zero contract.
We work in partnership with businesses to save time as well as money and ensure they are working with the right suppliers at the right price.
In addition to benefiting companies that are already trading, Zero Procure also offers a comprehensive procurement service for new business launches and re-branding initiatives, ensuring that every last detail is taken care of.
From marketing to equipment, from produce to staffing and everything in between, our expertise offers added guidance to support with a successful launch and beyond.
As well as making procurement effortless, we are driven by the desire to give back to our industry and we look forward, in the near future, to announcing further initiatives including the Foundation Zero charitable trust and our thought leadership platform, Zero Connect.
How did the idea for your company come about?
With all the fear and uncertainty that has been brought about by COVID-19, myself and a couple of other industry professionals decided to try and come up with a good idea for businesses.
What we absolutely knew, is that all businesses would be forced to look at costs. We realised that literally thousands of businesses, across all sectors, would either collapse or be in serious jeopardy.
This is when, together with John Stevenson and Clive Shepherd, we came up with an idea to help clients and suppliers ease their pain.
Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?
Make sure you take time to step away from your workspace. When in an office or co-working environment it is easier to take a break, have those "watercooler moments" or take a stroll to the store room, printer etc. Likewise making time for yourself.
Many of us loathed the commute when we had to endure it but for me this was the time when I got my steps in, managed to listen to a podcast or read a book. These times are lost when working remotely so need to be factored in for your mental wellbeing.
How do you keep your team aligned?
Communication in the form of a scheduled daily team meeting or regular phone check in is crucial.
Use software such as Google Suite, Slack, Trello etc. These are fantastic for collaboration, planning and alignment.
What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?
Assuming that everyone is doing it better. That no-one has the same insecurities. Not realising soon enough that mistakes can actually be a great learning experience.
How would you best describe your business philosophy?
The only thing that is constant is change. Our business was born in the pandemic as we recognised the need to support customers and suppliers in a new way.
We are agile adapters and as we move into the recovery phase and beyond, we will continue to support our network to navigate the changing conditions, providing value, expertise and savings.
Do you have any pets? Care to share a photograph?
No pets. I am constantly nagged into getting a dog but haven't caved yet. Dealing with my children can sometimes be like herding cats. Does that count?? :)
I think there’s practically little difference Lucy. So when you get to the end of a busy week of being a mum and businesswoman, how do you unwind on a Friday evening?
It looks a lot different than it used to! With the week being taken up with school / work and the weekends full of sporting activities and being the mum/dad taxi, Friday nights are family chill time with pizza and a movie.
Finally, what motivates you?
Raising others up to succeed and seeing them flourish. This is true of my friends, industry peers, and especially my children, where I'm passionate about instilling confidence that you can do anything you turn your mind to.
Thanks Lucy! And if you’d like to featured in our interview series, contact firstname.lastname@example.org