Covid-19….What a blast

Posted by: Nick Spalding Category: Blog

So what do you do when a pandemic comes along? Like most people we sat in a state of shock for a number of days as we literally watched three of our businesses of the last five years or more, diminish to nothing, almost overnight.

I’m sure we weren’t alone as a terrible sinking feeling overcame us.

From March 16th to March 25th we received a telephone call every day from customers asking us to stop working for them until we were down to nothing.

So how have we got through….?

Like most, we took a breath and then…..we remained calm, focused on our strengths and to some degree, we pivoted.

And so, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank family, friends and customers mentioned below, who really stood up and helped us. Thank you, we genuinely really appreciate your support.

ABG Accountancy

Andrew and his team have been extremely on the ball during this crisis. For us their advice has been first-rate, timely and accurate. Without their insights and regular advice on the government’s positions, I think we would have struggled. I noticed on their website someone had described them as ‘everything an accountant should be but rarely is‘, we have to say we completely agree.

Hubspot

The Hubspot support team has been brilliant, it must be said.

Hubspot continue to reach out to us and provide weekly support calls, continue to coach us, engage with us and highlight new market areas for us to consider working in.

After all the world was amidst a pandemic but there were businesses that were overstretched and needed help.

 

ISCVEISCVE Logo + Web Enhanced Outline RGB 150 dpi

Formerly known as the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers, ISCVE, as they are now known, decided they needed to come back from lockdown with a new image to market, embracing new membership sectors whilst retaining loyal to those at their core.

And so they came back with a new name, new branding, a new website domain, a refreshed website, social media and marketing communications.

We’d like to take this opportunity of thanking the President, Directors, Management Teams and in particular the Marketing team at ISCVE for choosing to work with us on these projects. We are excited by the immediate and longer term development plans for ISCVE and wish everyone the very greatest success, even in these challenging times, the future for ISCVE looks very bright.

 

Finch-534-Cut-Out-on-White-Blue-BackgroundFinch534 Agencies

An old contact of more than twenty five years called one day during the pandemic, I can’t quite remember exactly when, stating he needed help sorting his business out. His business had grown exponentially and organically over time and his spreadsheet of contacts and companies was no longer cutting it.

He had simply outgrown it.

Steve Finch, owner and operator of Finch534 Agencies stated he wanted to get his marketing in order, so he could be more efficient with his time, reaching out to more people more regularly.

Finch534 Agencies represents a number of vendor principles in a number of different market sectors and needs to be able to be very selective with which vendors are presented to which customers.

We introduced Finch534 Agencies to Hubspot CRM, and after extensive data manipulation by one of our external data partners, which is still ongoing with fine tuning and refinement, Finch534 Agencies is now able to work with highly segmented contact data to email, call and eventually visit customers in very specific catchment areas.

Kaizen Industries

I have to take a moment to thank Justin at Kaizen Industrial Group, linked unknowingly by a family member, who contacted us and offered to supply us with face masks for a worried neighbour planning a hospital visit. Consequently we got chatting and before we knew it Workmask were stocking Justin’s products, in particular Bacoban® Wipes and Spray.

Do you know about Bacoban® yet?

It’s an aviation and medical approved disinfectant that continues working for up to 10 days after it is applied to surfaces in medical or aviation environments. That’s right, so new bacteria landing on a surface continues to be destroyed for up to 10 days.

Amazing huh!

Kaizen Industrial Group is an industrial scale cleaning specialist for the NHS, large public buildings and for aviation.

 

The Lloyd Family

Thank you to Sarah Lloyd, who actually initiated the idea for Workmask (see next paragraph) by providing us with a few spare face masks for one of our neighbours facing the prospect of making a hospital visit without one and was frankly scared to go.

Sarah ran round with a few face masks she had sitting in the back of her car without a moments thought. This was late March and I don’t think any of us could have predicted the imminent short supply of PPE.

I’d also like to mention Sarah’s mum and dad, Nigel and Frances, who offered friendship and financial support should we need it, as well as some great gardening tips for the kindly donated 8ft bamboo.

icon-workmaskWorkmask

Out of a need to provide our families with protection from Covid-19 and a number of subsequent conversations with family, friends and business colleagues, we created an e-commerce store, called Workmask, initially so friends, family and industry colleagues could secure medical grade PPE equipment, at a time when there was a world shortage.

As a marketing agency it was a very natural progression for us to use our marketing skills to create an online store supported by integrated blogs, e-newsletters and automated e-com communications.

Before we knew it we had created a brand, an online store, established supply-chain and order fulfilment and satisfied hundreds of online orders in sectors and markets we hadn’t considered.

1st Packaging

Whilst establishing Workmask’s e-com store we became re-acquainted with the team at 1st-Packaging which in itself has been a bonus of Covid-19. The team at 1st Packaging found themselves suddenly very busy creating new products and building an e-com store to meet the ever growing demands for PPE face shields.

Not content with using standard A4 printers to produce their face shields 1st Packaging designed from scratch four models of full face-visor, using optical grade, recyclable PET, to provide their face visors with superior clarity and anti-fog properties.

Two of their face shields, designed specifically for medical-use, obtained British Standards Institute CE certification. Workmask is a stockist and reseller for the Staysafe®, Medi-1st, Kidsafe and 1st Defence Visors from 1st Packaging.

Read their story here.

 

Gravesend Golf Centre

Our friend Stacey is a PGA golf professional located at Gravesend Golf Centre and upon hearing about Workmask became its first paying client. Stacey was keen to protect his colleagues and customers once the golf centre re-opened its doors to the public and consequently purchased high-quality face masks from Workmask.

We hear the golf club has been overrun with clients since re-opening and we’re delighted for Stacey, his family and colleagues and thank you all for your support. Stacey’s wife Helen has also been checking in by phone each week to see how Lisa and I are doing, much appreciated.

Here’s an insight into the TopTracer technology being used at Gravesend Golf Centre, we can’t wait to try it out.

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Arthur & Chris Walker

I just remember we were right in the middle of Covid-19, death rates were at their peak, morale was low. Lisa and I were both running around for Workmask like headless chickens and on one particular Saturday evening, we were both exhausted and the doorbell rang. Standing like a knight in shining armour was our neighbour Arthur, standing fully loaded with his prized home cooked Lamb Pasanda and Chicken Curry, complete with rice, mango chutney and naan bread.

‘We thought you might appreciate some food’, said Arthur, ‘Chris and I have been cooking all afternoon and thought you might like some’.

I literally could have kissed him.

It was such a lovely thing to do.

Of course it tasted fantastic and we’ve since had one or two more surprise deliveries since, with Lisa sending home-baked Victoria sponge and Apple and locally picked Blackberry pie in the other direction.

 

Jason & Sam Pearce

Our friends and associates, I’ve know Jason since we were 14 years old, perhaps younger. We grew up on the same Council estate and took our first jobs at the same supermarket on the same Fresh Produce counter. We had a laugh way back then and I think we still are.

Anyway Jason checked in on our wellbeing pretty regularly. Sam is a partner in the Hide Lounge and was herself facing challenging times herself but when it came to re-open she talked to us about protecting her staff with facemasks, visors and sanitiser.

Of course we were happy to help, more happy to hear the Hide Lounge has since re-opened safely and business is booming. We look forward to visiting soon.

 

Johnathon & Tracy Wood

One of Lisa’s longest standing friends, Tracy and Lisa have been keeping each other sane with weekly phone calls and updates…and it can’t go without a mention, they chose to drive up and see us, as soon as lockdown allowed, on one of the hottest days of the year, a journey of nearly 3 hours in each direction.

So thanks guys, and of course the Goat to Genie story would never have been told without your visit :-).

 

Teri and Makis Giatras

I mean, only your best friend can get away with face timing you from your favourite beach bar, whilst you are sat in lockdown and isolation.

Whilst I’m sorry that Terri and Makis have not been able to open their beautiful beach restaurant this year due to Covid-19, I am actually really happy they have both been able to enjoy their beautiful island without having to work quite so hard.

And yes, we do really appreciate the regular face time calls in the sunshine. Thanks lovely xx.

 

Mums

When the lockdown kicked in, our mums were shielding so I got the opportunity to do their weekly food shopping, as Lisa was also shielding and this meant I got to deliver their food shopping to them, which was fun. Aside from that both mums checked in on our wellbeing regularly and offered financial assistance should we need it.

Not yet mums but if the Government do not do something to support our industry soon, who knows 😉

 

In Summary

Of course we are still amidst this pandemic, it seems as quickly as businesses re-open, others are shutting down again as areas become isolated and return to lockdown.

Strangely, we are optimistic, but then I guess we always are.

This pandemic has caused us to re-think our strategies going forward on a personal and business level. It has also caused us to appreciate each other, our friends, family and business colleagues, now more than ever.

As for the future, it will be what it will be, all we can do is be in the best shape mentally, physically and with as wide a skillset as possible to meet it head on, or perhaps not quite so head on as we did in the past.

Stay Safe and Well.

Nick & Lisa xx