Same Ocean, Different Boats: My Story About Navigating Covid
There’s no doubt that 2020 will remain a milestone on our business and personal journeys for years to come. But what will it represent for you? As with any major event, businesses will adapt or die. Some will thrive and others will simply survive. It feels a little as though we are currently in the storm, but that the winds and the rain have eased off a bit and we are unsure what direction they’ll come from next!
I find a lot of my analogies involve sailing and water. Perhaps it’s just me, but I do feel that journeys on water, whether sailing a boat or running a ship, have many similarities to navigating our business growth journeys.
Earlier this year, the forecast was for Brexit related squalls but none of us saw the massive storm that was lurking just beyond the horizon.
From nowhere it hit, taking out sails, throwing people overboard, damaging our vessels. It was scary and we didn’t know what to address first.
Lockdown was announced by the government on 23rd March. I saw people panic, saw how fear paralysed us, stopped us thinking clearly – I was one of them. With 3 sons – one GCSE age, one A Level age and one commissioning as an Officer in the Army – we all had the rug pulled from under our feet in the same way as did many of us – and sadly some of the proudest moments of my life as a Mum were taken, but out of adversity comes resilience and we found life lessons that wouldn’t have been found in “normal” times – we realised how much resilience we had!
But I knew then that my business was not going to be another victim of COVID and nor was anyone else’s if I had anything to do with it!
I knew I needed help from the right people to help me to help others so I reached out to trusted and respected business owner clients, friends and suppliers (most were all 3!) and on 26th March, I hosted a webinar that was to become the start of the Stronger Together initiative. I pulled together this panel of experts to provide advice and guidance to help people right themselves and start to plan their next moves. Despite this being a time of intense uncertainty, we were able to offer a lifeline to anyone who needed it.
Within a week, I created the Stronger Together LinkedIn group. This then became a place for people to come and find advice, still focused around my incredible team of experts – people I worked with, clients, networking connections – no matter how they knew me, they wanted to pull together and be part of the start of a solution. It was incredible, humbling and inspirational, all at the same time.
As the weeks rolled by, and the group grew in numbers, we showcased anything of value being offered within the community as well as following up with our second webinar, a powerful session where 10 of us shared our top tips to move from Survival to Revival. We’d seen that businesses needed to pivot if they stood a chance of surviving this crisis and I’m proud that, for some of them, we were probably the catalyst for this.
Stronger Together proved to be a life raft for business owners. In fact, some 500 of you make up the total community, which is still going strong, and I hope continues to do so – there is now a Facebook group as well. It’s incredible to think that, at a time when we could have felt intense isolation and loneliness, we’ve never been more supported and connected.
Collaboration is key these days. Being part of a business ecosystem creates a buffer for peaks and troughs, ups and downs. We can learn from one another; promote each other and offer support. We are truly Stronger Together.
During the storm, my ship hit some massive rocks. The first being the death of my Father in early April during lockdown and 2 days before his 81st Birthday; closely followed by contracting covid-19 myself – I have never felt so ill in my life. Both events were shattering in their own way and would be at any normal time, let alone a time when comfort and company was hard to come by. Our enforced living conditions have added a level of unseen stress to everyone’s lives, making stressful situations even harder to deal with. But they also give us the chance to see things in a way we wouldn’t have before. My Dad was a fighter, he wouldn’t have given up, and I’ve realised that so am I and neither will I.
Assessing the damage
Now that things are a little quieter (not forgetting about other storms on the horizon, which I’ll come to in a minute) it’s time to assess the damage. Bail out and fix what didn’t stand up to the storm, to continue the boating analogy.
We could never have foreseen what happened but we can definitely learn from it and now is the time to make sure our businesses are better equipped to weather a storm in future. I come back to our amazing Stronger Together community when I think about making my business stronger and seaworthy again. Having the right crew is essential at times of crisis. I’m so grateful to George Swift, Olly Church, Jo Medhurst, Nicki Kinton, Tory Wagg, Andy Steer, Amanda Downs, Sarah Sangster and Carolyne Wahlen – and to all of you who have contributed to the group chats and live meet ups.
The wise words shared have equipped us all to keep pushing forward, to know that we are not in this alone.
We are all in the same ocean, experiencing a storm like no other and wondering whether our vessel is going to last the course.
So where do we go from here? As I said earlier, the Stronger Together community is here to stay and is a trusted resource for support and collaboration.
I am turning my eye towards the horizon again as the clouds are building when it comes to matters such as potential further lockdowns, probable recession, repayment of the government’s business support loans, Brexit (yes that blustery squall hasn’t gone away), the economy, negative interest rates (how does that even work?) and more besides.
All this and not to mention the small matter of continuing to grow our businesses. We’ve survived, we’ve revived and now it’s time to thrive.
My next webinar takes place on 20 November 2020 at 12 noon and is called Stronger Together: Survive – Revive – THRIVE! It’ll help you continue through COVID and lead you on to navigate your way through the approaching storms so you can set yourself up to thrive in 2021. Join me for this essential listening and build your business and your confidence to set a course for future success.
Stronger Together on LinkedIn
The Stronger Together LinkedIn Group is going well with over 300 Business Owners who are serious about their businesses surviving and helping others to as well. I’ve recently started a Stronger Together Group on Facebook too! Please join one or other, or both if you haven’t already – there’s a wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom to draw from and to add to, again we would be grateful if you shared this with anyone you think may be interested.
Help is here, please don’t struggle
Please reach out if you want to discuss how to take your business forward, we want to help as many business revive as possible, and if I can’t help then I will know someone in this fab business ecosystem who will be able to.
Take care, be productive and stay safe
How I can support you
My goal is to help you, as a business owner, to survive, revive and thrive by getting the most value out of your three most valuable assets:
- Your contacts/data
- Your processes and systems
When you make the most of your contacts/data you are in the best place possible to increase your revenue. When you have efficient, repeatable processes in your business, you reduce the cost of sales. Both of these give the business owner more head space to focus on growing their business.
The overall result is an increase in net profit.
I have been working with CapsuleCRM for over 9 years and helped many clients increase revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service.
I do this by designing and installing Capsule to meet the client’s needs, offering a bespoke CRM to suit their business requirements. Capsule really is a great solution for coaches, consultants and business owners and when it is integrated with Mailchimp and Xero you have really solid foundations in place to grow your business.
To find out more or arrange a time to discuss how I can help you, please contact me.
I look forward to getting to know you and sharing in your business journey.