The end of lockdown couldn’t come soon enough for small businesses up and down the country.
After a difficult year, children’s sports activity company Richmond Playball is is back in business in south west London, and boss Bonny Santangeli, 38, could not be happier about it.
‘The past year has been a huge economic hit for us, and very worrying,’ she said. ‘Now we’re feeling positive, and keen to make up for lost time.’
To boost her business in the wake of lockdown, Bonny used Mail Metro Media’s new Ad Manager to advertise to local potential customers.
Bouncing back after lockdown: Bonny Santangeli, centre, and coaches at Richmond Playball
Bonny said: ‘I run Playball, which offers sports and movement camps and classes for children, in Richmond, Kingston and Barnes. Before lockdown, business was going really well – I had four coaches working for me and we were seeing 600-700 children a week.
‘But when lockdown struck we had to stop overnight. I took a Government Bounce Back Loan to help support my staff, and eventually furloughed myself on just over £500 a month.
‘It was so worrying. The loan was our biggest form of support but it’s still a loan, so a debt which we will have to pay back over the next few years.’
Bonny was thrilled when restrictions eased and she was able to open up her camps again for children. And one of the first things she did was take out a series of ads for her business on MailOnline using the online Ad Manager.
Bonny said: ‘It was so simple to use – really easy and straightforward setting up the ads.’
The results were great – and started straight away:
‘I’ve had so many emails, all from new people who we haven’t had before. I’ve been so busy, it’s great!’
So happy to be back in business: Bonny says seeing the children’s faces light up is fantastic
Now, Bonny says, her three Playball franchises are open and thriving.
‘A good thing about lockdown is it’s shown people the benefits of being outdoors, and starting to exercise from a young age to develop a love for activity outside,’ Bonny said.
‘We’ve spent the past year putting Covid protocols in place, and the children are absolutely loving being back – seeing their little faces light up when they see their friends, it’s fantastic.’