The past 12 months for us all have been a challenge – it’s fair to say that it has been hard to see so many businesses struggle and at times, like so many other SMEs, we were of course naturally concerned about what the future might look like.
We are grateful to have been one of the fortunate ones – and we feel blessed to be in a position where we haven’t just survived, but thrived and we’ve loved welcoming 10 new employees to the team.
Like so many will no doubt have experienced, the past 12 months have been far from plain sailing. When the first lockdown hit, we had a number of clients pause their accounts with us – some returned, and some didn’t. But instead of falling into a pit of despair, we decided to use this as an opportunity to take a step back, look at the environment and how it was changing and strategise ways we could adapt our services and how could implement them to meet this new world we were now facing.
Like all businesses, we were sailing blind initially, having never experienced anything like this. What we found though was that it was simple, quick action from the team that resulted in the biggest successes. Adapting working hours was a key example of this. Prior to COVID, our normal hours were 11am until 7pm Monday to Thursday and 9am until 2pm on a Friday. But early on we found that the hours between 5pm and 7pm (normally our most productive hours) soon became our least productive. As a Dad of three, it didn’t take me long to figure out why! Mum / Dad stuck at home all day, kids running around and juggling homeschooling – all whilst trying to work and do everyday tasks – meant that when it came to the evening, the last thing anyone wanted to do was speak to people over the phone. Based on these findings, we immediately changed our hours and within just a matter of weeks, our leads started increasing and gaining momentum again.
With more people at home than ever before, we used this to our advantage. We shifted from using our services aimed at securing a “face to face” meeting, to instead ensuring services and sales could be offered over the phone. We also shifted our attention to clients whose services were relevant to the “here and now”, after noticing a change in consumer behaviour.
Looking back now, as a business we’re in a much stronger position – our contact rate in February 2021 was over 36% higher than it was in 2020, which – considering the situation – is an incredible achievement.
When it comes to future proofing the business, adaptation and flexibility will remain a key component of our businesses strategy. We know the world is temperamental for the foreseeable, so we will continue to offer short and flexible contracts of just 21 days that can be paused and started whenever our clients need as we appreciate sometimes, offering a slice of flexibility can really help them out.
2020 wasn’t the year we expected or the year we were hoping for, yet despite this, we managed to turn it around into our businesses best year yet.