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Business outlook: Small business leaders reveal trends and predictions


Real Business showcases small businesses that have exemplified innovation in 2020 on their outlook for the year ahead.

Please use the list below to flip through each business story.


David Cran

Vice President UK, Ireland & Iberia, SmileDirectClub

Company overview: The oral care leader with the first medtech platform for teeth straightening

Company location: London

What are the biggest lessons you have learned as a business this year?

  • Lesson 1: For SmileDirectClub, this year really demonstrated our business, strength and resilience. As the world changed, we were able to pivot our business in many ways to suit our customers needs. .
  • For example, as we closed our Smile Shops to abide by government guidelines, we saw a huge surge in consumer demand for our impression kits as people realised that they could safely straighten their teeth at home. As the public became used to remote services, we moved our focus to meet consumer demand and support our customers at home.
  • Lesson 2: It’s important to stay connected and continuously find solutions. This year, the internal team adapted to new ways of working, harnessing platforms such as Teams and Zoom to stay connected and keep our winning team spirit and drive outstanding results for our business.

David Cran, SmileDirectClub

What key innovations have you seen in your sector in 2020?

Lesson 1: The biggest innovation in our sector this year has to be the adoption of telehealth or telemedicine. It is something that SmileDirectClub has pioneered but in 2020, interest, understanding, and adoption skyrocketed. Internet searches for telemedicine went up by 335% – whether it was to see a GP, counselling for mental health or to consult with a dentist. To stay relevant, the industry had to adapt as a whole to meet consumer demands.

Lesson 2: We saw amazing innovation at our SmileHouse manufacturing facility, where we switched a lot of our production to manufacture and supply much needed PPE for the US health system. We used our huge 3D printing capacity to make high quality face visors for health professionals and for our own SmileShop teams around the world.



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