Any positives from the pandemic?

ended 21. March 2021

Tuesday 23 March is the anniversary of the first national lockdown. The media will be all over this and will be speaking to countless small businesses and charities about their experiences.

So many of you, we know first hand, have had a tough time of it, but many of you say you have also learnt a lot, too.

If you'd like to share any positives that you've got out of the pandemic as a small business or charity owner, tell us and we'll include them in the press release we'll be issuing to the local and national media tomorrow morning.

21 responses from the Newspage community

I'm in the shileding group and although it's been pretty lonely at times, business wise this last year has been life changing in a good way. I have been able to continue to see clients using Zoom and can now say that I'm an international hypnotherapist. I am considering keeping the majority of my future work on-line. 

Hi there - yes I can help here. Please see the beginning of the press release for #worldpiano88 below, being hosted in the Music & Mental Health Club on Clubhouse.

  • "As we gradually come out of lockdown, best-selling piano author and mental health advocate Mark Deeks is organising a World Piano Day 24hr extravaganza on March 29, the 88th day of the year. The annual event to celebrate a love of the 88 keys of a piano, will this year be spearheaded by #worldpiano88 which will embrace the power of technology to make it accessible to everyone across the world".

The full story is here: https://app.newspage.co.uk/mark-deeks-music/news-story/the-worlds-first-clubhouse-world-piano-day-march-29-2021-worldpiano88


As a small business owner, I have been delighted to see so many people turn to musical hobbies in the last year to provide them with a positive distraction and a means to reduce anxiety and improve mental wellbeing. My online piano coaching membership is 4 times the size it was pre Covid.

I'd be happy to field any press requests on subjects of music, mental health, small business and the power of Clubhouse.

Many thanks

Mark

Premium
DAFTAS

After having been disproportionally affected by government closures and social distancing restrictions, the filmmaking industry is eager to get back to being fully operational as soon as possible. Stuck at home, with no jobs and creative outlets, indie filmmakers and comedians of all kind are keen to leave the challenges behind and are hopeful about what future holds for them.  

The comedy film challenge intitative 'DAFTAS' has received an amazing response from comedians, actors and filmmakers who decided to take part in the DAFTAS 2021. We have also recevied a lot of support from the community who are keen to see more witty comedy. 

The DAFTAS is a spoof comedy challenge and a festival that encourages filmmakers of every level of expertise to find their creative style and create more comedy. The DAFTAS awards will take place on the 29th of May and will be streamed online to make it accessible to a wider audience. 

My Scented Home

I remember the first week of lockdown March 2020 and wondering how my business was going to fair. I remember my partner reassuring me but I wasn't sure. How wrong was I? In the last 12 months the growth in my business has been absolutely incredible. As a small business and a business that was only 4 years old in 2020 it had been growing organically and I had been able to balance life as a mum of 4 andd build the business with just myself doing everything. In the past 12 months the growth has been phenomenal. So many people are wanting to decorate their home or send gifts to friends and loved ones. At christmas my 'Make your own Christmas Wreath kit' was a massive bestseller with so many people wanting to make their own christmas door wreath. My online workshops were also incredibly popular for individuals and also as corporate events with every person receiving a kit to their door and me hosting online zoom tutorials. Even after Christmas the growth has continued and I am currently on about 1000% growth year on year . The rate of growth for a small business has been quite challenging at times but a challenge that has been exciting. I have been able to give work to other self employed individuals who can help me such as a virtual assistant and piece workers who can help me to provide the gorgeous dried flower gifts and home decor. As the momentum continues I hope to offer more online workshops for corporate teams who might like a virtual team building activity which ends with them creating their own masterpiece. I also hope to resume my face to face workshops which I think so many people need. Being creative with flowers is extremely mindful and I think it is something many people need after the stresses of the last year. I am thrilled about the growth I have experienced during lockdown which I never imagined would be the case.

I learned that giving away free content to help orovide parents with resources to entertain their kids is not only a kindness that made me feel good...and useful...it has proven great for business! My turnover has grown 250% on the previous FY, it's been great for SEO and bringing more traffic to the site, and generally the support for my little business has been really humbling. Putting good things out there can come back many times over. 

As a young social enterprise when the pandemic hit, we focused on how to transform key challenges into positive outcomes. We used additional office time to focus on governance and social impact strategies through support from Social Business Wales. 

We were also forced to adjust the way we work on digital media projects with people with learning disabilities, meaning they had to step up to learn remote working and film making skills from their own homes. This has had a huge impact on their ability to remain resilient and to adjust to a changing landscape professionally. 

I was one of many that found themselves out of work early on in the pandemic, but it was actually the push I needed to launch my first business - something that I wanted to do since I was a teenager. In lockdown 1 are started designing my drinks. Working through recipes, over and over again. Putting together a brand message and talking to propective customers about gaps or niches in the market not well served.

I then used that gap between lockdown 1 and 2 to be able to work with commercial production facilities and I launched my direct to consumer business, just before lockdown 2. The barriers to entry for direct-to-consumer sales is much lower than working with a large retail group and gave me the opportunity to begin growing straight away. Particularly given that everyone was stuck at home and time on social media increased damatically, enabling social advertising to be highly effective and near enough instant.

Premium
The Little Sensory Box

My small business boomed as a result of lockdown. I went from turning over £16,000 in my first year to just tipping over £250,000 in the last 12 months. I don't think I would of grown this quick without lockdown.

Premium
Tarelle Accessories

We were very worried when lockdown started for our small online business and were prepared for the worse. Already visible and set up online our business took off. We have increased turnover by 300% from last year as people have turned to online shopping . Having not able to attend events and pop up fairs we took part in many virtual fairs which exposed us to many more potential customers around the country then we would have been .

The pandemic caused so many more people start gaining weight due to being at home during lockdowns and raiding the fridge more often. Some people also began to drink more which really hindered their weight loss efforts. Our 12 Weeks to Wow Facebook support group grew to just over 30,000 members and has been a lifeline community to many. Using our 12 Weeks to Wow Weight Loss app and our free Facebook support, we have have so many Lock Down weight loss success stories we can share.  

Far from being a disaster, the pandemic has helped us grow our online community to enable us to help so many people world wide to lose weight and change their relationship with food.

Link to app: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/virtual-gastric-band-hypnosis/id504835984?mt=8  

Link to Free Facebook Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376902025707531

Foe more information contact: Sue Peckham at info@12weekstowow.co.uk or call on 07946 641270.

It has been the toughest of years working in international tourism, with moments of true despair. But, we have a viable business and although currently on pause, we are resilient and we have hope for the future. 

What has helped us the most is a remarkable sense of community created by our past and future guests who have reached out to offer support including helping us to raise over £4000 for a hardship fund for Mongolians we work in long-term community partnership with who have been negatively impacted by Covid. 

In addition, although they don't help to pay the bills, we created online cookery and language lessons that have helped provide a mental boost to our team and a fun way for us to stay in touch with our guests. 

Although it has been an anxious and often lonely time, we have used it to work on our footprint as a tourism business. We are already a registered social travel enterprise but have created our Plastic Free Mongolia Challenge and have become a signatory on ‘Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency’ so that when international tourism does reopen, our impact as a tourism business remains a positive one.

Prior to the first lockdown the vast majority of my work was delivering face-to-face workshops and development support, coaching and consultancy. That disappeared overnight.

Lockdown gave me the opportunity to really think through what I wanted to do in my business and how I wanted to run it. I reached the conclusion that what I was doing was the right thing for me, but it was how I delivered it that I had to change.

I moved my business online and now deliver virtual training and development sessions and workshops. In a strange way, lockdown has probably moved me on two years in the services I offer and how I use technology to offer them.

It also gave me the chance to review where I had previously spent my time and money. What networking events did I attend? What subscriptions did I have? What business return was I getting for them? What alternatives could I consider? I've not renewed several memberships and won't be attending as many face-to-face networking events (when we can) so my cost base has reduced dramatically. Again, I'm not sure I'd have done this review if lockdown hadn't happened. 

My business will be leaner when we come out of this lockdown, I know I'll be working on the things I really enjoy and I'll be delivereing them in a much more effective way for my clients and myself.

Premium
Free Wills

 Our busiest day ever was the 23rd March 2020 when
a total of 216 Wills were written via the FreeWills.co.uk website, with many
being written late into the night after Boris made the lockdown announcement –
it was a day when people suddenly realised they needed to get their own affairs
in order following years of procrastinating. 

  

The 23rd March catapulted us into becoming the second
largest Will writers in the UK, with 1 in 25 Wills in England and Wales now
being written via our website. 

  

All in all, 2020 became a record year for us and the pandemic
has had a profound effect on our business with an almost 300% growth in the
number of Wills written. 

  

Lockdown has led to us taking on new staff, and working longer
hours 7 days a week to handle customer enquiries. 

  

A bonus has been that over £25 million was pledged to
charity via Wills written via our website last year. Not quite Captain Tom level; but then again no-one
is, but it shows that people have been incredibly generous and thoughtful of others,
in what has clearly been a very difficult year. 

  

All quotes can be attributable to Carl Christensen, MD FreeWills.co.uk  

01865 579792 

07966 366466

Pictures available

Arthur Vandyk Antiques

The original lockdown was a big shock for our business with all our face to face opportunities to sell antiques cancelled suddenly. This set back pushed us at Arthur Vandyk Antiques out of our comfort zone: we put all our stock on eBay and Etsy something we planned to do before Covid but had not got round to it. Sales suddenly came in from all over the world, we realised we could sell well without the crutch of selling at antique fairs. In fact, we are turning over more money than before Covid and have invested the money in new stock, a new logo and a new website: arthurvandykantiques.com. and a new YouTube channel ArthurVandykAntiques. We will definitely continue to build our online presence after the Pandemic and build our brand online. This has been a challenging but rewarding time for us. 

The level of free advice and promotional opportunities for small businesses has been unprecedented during the pandemic. Lockdown has given me more time to work on my business, rather than in it and digital technologies have enabled me to access a wide range of professional support. I have also formed new connections and friendships with other small business owners through Peer to Peer groups, which I have found invaluable during the past year.

Premium
Digital BIAS

Last year we really buckled down. Whilst we had to, unfortunately, let people go, we sat 14 new professional certifications between us, restructured the business and launched a new business model. We are now hiring again, moving into new offices on April 1st and looking forward to an exciting remainder of 2021.

Premium
The Happy Parents' Club

I'm a clinical hypno-pyschotherapist and I work with expectant and new parents helping them to prepare for birth and parenthood. During lockdown, I took advantage of lockdown courses to expand my services. I have been excluded from all government support but was fortunate to have savings that I could use to do online training so, although not ideal and I feel very aggrieved that my taxes have supported a lot of people but not me or three million other people excluded, I have been able to add to my portfolio of offerings to parents.

I am training in NLP and have trained in birth trauma techniques so I can now offer these to clients to enable them to either recover from birth trauma (and, sadly, a lot of mums have experienced various forms of birth trauma during lockdowns). I can now help them to move forward from this using NLP techniques as well as my clinical hypno-psychotherapy.

I've also been able to work internationally, teaching expectant parents my antenatal education with hypnosis course and I intend to keep working internationally online, as well as locally with in-person courses. Yes, some silver linings but I am still pissed that the government has totally ignored me and not supported me. It will take me years to make up my lost income but I'm still going to have to pay taxes on all that I earned this year without having had any support from the government.

Before to the first lockdown, almost all of our work involved delivering face-to-face hypnotherapy and counselling sessions for 1:1 clients. Our practice was growing rapidly and we were about to sign leases on 2 additional offices.

Lockdown meant we had to close our practice almost overnight. Fortunately, we had not signed the leases on the additional offices so we were only stuck with one office that we had to 'mothball'. We realised that our business would only survive if we took all of the sessions online.

We immediately arranged to move all client sessions to Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp video sessions. As a result, many of our clients found online appointments more convenient for them and when we were able to re-open, most stayed online, freeing up more capacity for Face to Face appointments at the practice without us having to take on more offices at the moment. We also started to offer group sessions online for weight loss and mindfulness, which have proved to be a great success.  

We feel that lockdown has saved us a fortune in office rent for space that we don't need and has also helped us to move more sessions online and we now see lots of international clients in our 1:1 sessions and online group sessions.

As we come out of lockdown we have reduced our overheads and 'pivoted' our business so on the whole, the lockdown has been a really positive experience for our small business.

"Whilst COVID has been an extremely difficult time for the various businesses and individuals affected, we launched Gramersi.com during the pandemic, and we're proud to have witnessed first hand - the sheer number of successful startups that have come out of this period - Posey Yoga, COVEX and YR Masks to name just a few." George Taylor, Founder at Gramersi.com

Premium
Party Ideazz

We launched our business, Party Ideazz, in January 2020 - just before the pandemic hit. Our idea was to create an online party planning hub where people could find everything they need to plan their own parties and events. Obviously once we went into lockdown, people weren't able to party and this had a huge impact on the growth of our new business. However, we used that time to start building relationships with small businesses and using our social media platforms to support them. This was really beneficial as it gave us the chance to learn and grow at a pace we could manage. Since the roadmap out of lockdown has been announced, we are seeing a big increase in interest and we are convinced this is largely due to the time we spent building our brand and growing our network throughout the last year.

It has really been a getting-the-train-back-on-track event. All the pre-Covid focus that used to be on anything and everything, has now come down to only the things that matter the most. We didn't need Covid to move from inernal combustion to EVs, we didn't need Covid to move from stressful commute & office-working to a much more well-being friendly-remote working, we didn't need Covid to video call our loved ones more often, we didn't need Covid to tell us to focus on our health, to have a better lifestyle, enjoying walks and spending more time with family, we didn't need Covid to tell us that life is not a rat race! In the long run, this pandemic will have more positive outcomes overall on the way we live and the way we look after our planet.