A small business story: How Oryx faced the biggest challenge of COVID-19

Guy Dawson - Oryx MD

Since 2011, Oryx has been bringing a portfolio of high-quality architectural products to the MENA region, with the vision to transform the way we live through our surroundings. After their successful funding round with Beehive, we sat down with Managing Director, Guy Dawson, to find out how they have adapted to the challenges of the pandemic and how the funding helped them cope through the crisis. 

Read the full interview below. 

Using Beehive to Fund your Business 

Why did you choose Beehive for your funding? 
We chose Beehive because of their fair interest rate, and quick turnaround. It was our second round of funding from Beehive. 

What did you use your funding for? 

We used the funding to purchase new vehicles, showroom improvements, and machinery. 

How did you find the process? 
We found the process so much easier than a bank, and the procedure was clearly laid out. The banks here should take notice! 

The Pandemic Impact 

Did COVID-19 affect your business? 
For a number of months after the pandemic hit we were unable to install anywhere near the amount of doors and windows that we needed to, and this hit cashflow.  However, the number of enquiries continued to come in, and we have a huge order book going into 2021.  In 2020 we installed more doors and windows than 2019, but we didn’t achieve our goal that we set at the beginning of 2020! 

What has been the biggest challenge through this period? 
The biggest challenge was that we were prevented from installing our doors and windows. Some customers have been in isolation, some sites have been closed, and occasional deliveries have been late.  I think ALL of our customers have been very understanding, and one or two had to put up with significant delays.  However, we seem to have got all the jobs done now, and have no outstanding issues. 

The Pandemic Pivot 

How did you adapt? 
We have had to increase our installation capacity and now have four teams of installers (all fully engaged!) and new sales staff to cope with the increase in enquiries and orders.  We took emergency salary cuts for three months to assist our cashflow and survival, but that has now been paid back. 

How are you operating now and how will you continue in 2021? 
Fortunately we have spacious offices and showroom, so we can work safely.  The pandemic continues to cause delays with stock and access to sites, but we know how fortunate we are compared to other companies. Anyone at Oryx worried about COVID-19 contact, or slightly unwell, stays home.  We all have laptops, and the staff at Oryx are so dedicated, they just keep going! 

What positives, if any, have you experienced from COVID-19? 
We have expanded our staff now, and every one of the team is contributing hugely.  We all know that we have survived the crisis far better than most, and are grateful for our health, and for being in Dubai.  I’m sure it is dawning on us all what a great place the UAE is, and how well we’ve handled the crisis.  If the pandemic can be controlled, globally, we are poised for a fantastic 2021. 

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