WCC business support unlocks new opportunities for Adventure Sports
"The creation of the new website will safeguard the business and the jobs we generate and allow the business to increase sales and create more jobs over the next three years."
An outdoor activities centre which was "stopped in its tracks" by lockdown is facing the future with renewed confidence and a transformed online presence thanks to business support from Warwickshire County Council.
Adventure Sports, based on the old Royal Warwickshire Regiment Rifle Range in Warwick since 1990, was forced to close its doors for six out of 12 months by lockdown.
Over the years the company has run a range of fun activities - tank driving, quad trekking, karting, ferret racing - alongside its specialism of management development and training programmes for clients including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and EDF.
But the pandemic came as a huge blow to the business which was already preparing to deal with the fallout from Brexit. Adventure Sports weathered the storm with all jobs intact...but it was grant support and advice from the county council's Survive, Sustain and Grow Programme that supplied extra ideas and impetus.
Adventure Sports co-founder Steve Richardson said: "Around 65% of our sales come from corporate events so, when Brexit was announced, we realised we needed to increase sales to the general public to make up the shortfall. We invested in new activities, including refurbishment of the karting circuit, and these works were finished in the summer of 2019. Then, in March 2020, COVID stopped the business in its tracks.
"We had to close for six of twelve months and, when we could open, operated under tier restrictions. This meant no corporate or group events for 14 months.
"The Job Retention Scheme and Government grants enabled the business to furlough employees and safeguard all jobs, but for the business to recover we needed to urgently increase sales. We knew we had to replace our aged website and online booking system and planned to buy a new website in 2020, but successive lockdowns and reduced trading made that economically impossible.
"Because of this we applied to Warwickshire County Council for a COVID-19 Recovery and Investment Grant. We were absolutely delighted when our application was successful. The grant will allow us to increase sales with a new bespoke website designed to best serve the shift in our customer base to the general public by allowing fast and easy access on all smart devices.
"Staff productivity will be massively improved by the new system. The creation of the new website will safeguard the business and the jobs we generate and allow the business to increase sales and create more jobs over the next three years. We are immensely grateful to Warwickshire County Council for its support."
Steph Winter, WCC business support advisor, who advised the company, said: “It was exciting to work with Adventure Sports and help them define a clear business strategy to assist them through the pandemic. The leisure & tourism sector has been hit worst of all so it is very pleasing to see that, with their engagement onto our business support programme and grant award, they are coming through and safeguarding much needed jobs in this sector.”
Jagdish Soor, SSG Lead Consultant, added: "Through the Survive, Sustain and Grow programme, the main challenge highlighted was that the business had to embrace new technology to meet the changing needs of their customer base. It had been operating on old technology for some time and, without investment in new systems, would have continued to struggle.
"The WCC SSG grant has been a great enabler in allowing the company to install a new digital platform that will assist in their future growth and job security for its workforce."
For more information about the Survive,Sustain and Grow programme, please visit here.