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How to turn business challenges into opportunities

“Always try to frame problems that occur as opportunities. Looking at how they might help you can be super powerful.”

Nigel Whiteoak, co-founder of

In recent weeks, O2 has partnered with Enterprise Nation to deliver a series of five inspiring talks with entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled their business. At the latest #ScaleUpSeries event, Nigel Whiteoak, one of three founding partners of Lovecrafts, was asked about some of the challenges the company had faced during its early growth period.

His response surprised everyone in the audience, and should be an inspiration for every business owner: 

“I think that challenges and opportunities come bound into one, and when I think of some of the biggest challenges that Lovecrafts has faced, we were almost always able to turn them into big opportunities.”

Legislation change leads to new business

One example he gave concerned a change to European VAT regulations, which required large scale changes to Lovecraft’s web technology and infrastructure to enable the company to continue to sell digital products to European customers.

 “I remember that we were up at midnight on New Year’s Day in 2015, and while everyone else seemed to be toasting the dawn of the New Year, we were busy testing that Hungarian VAT rates worked properly on our website.”

Nevertheless Nigel and his two fellow founders were quick to identify a big opportunity arising from what had seemed such a headache. Large numbers of independent pattern designers, who were individually creating instructions for crafters, suddenly needed a way to solve those VAT problems for themselves. Many of them decided to sell their patterns through Lovecrafts, because that removed the VAT problem for them instantly.

Bringing an ailing supplier in house

Lovecrafts faced another challenge when one of their suppliers was in trouble. Their products were selling well, but it looked as though they would not survive. Many entrepreneurs might see this as just one of the hazards of retail, and simply look for an alternative supplier. However Lovecrafts recognised an opportunity, and asked the people behind the supplier to join the company and bring their products in house. Their range became the first of a number of ‘own brands’ for Lovecrafts, and has established an important new income stream for the business.

Do you look for opportunities from the challenges you face? Would you like more of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs to share their tips and practical advice for scale up success?


A message from O2 Business:

Nigel was speaking at the second of our five #ScaleUpSeries events, launched in partnership with Enterprise Nation. If you missed it, you can read more about our first event, where Praveen Vijh, Founder of Eat Natural bars, delivered his tips for scaling a business. Click here.

Join us for our next event in London on Monday 9 July, if you can, featuring Dhiraj Mukherjee, founder of Shazam. You can buy your tickets by clicking here. Alternatively, click here to review the other #ScaleUpSeries events on throughout the year.

O2 doesn’t just support business growth with events like these. We’d love to hear from you and discuss how we could support your business even further. Get in touch today.


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