|Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash|
It's been a tough year. That's an understatement. But a mood of cautious optimism can be detected in the business community. We're daring to dream of what a post-pandemic world may look like and hopefully planning for it as well.
The coronavirus hub of the Federation of Small Businesses continues to help members and non-members alike. It's regularly updated and will be guiding people through the complex world of support grants, bounce-back loans, furlough and more - as it has done since March 2020.
The FSB has also been diligently lobbying national and regional government on behalf of those excluded from funding or not getting the level of support they need. It has listened to its members' concerns and relayed them to the heart of Downing Street, securing some important wins along the way.
Supportive, welcoming and inspiring
I am a volunteer champion for the FSB. In 2019 I began to host a monthly networking event for the Staffordshire and West Midlands FSB region at the beautiful Dovecliff Hall Hotel, just outside Burton-on-Trent.
It was gratifying that some people travelled to join us from as far afield as Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield. Little did we know that our February 2020 meeting was going to be our last face-to-face meeting for more than a year.
Since then, we've taken the meetings online. We've been meeting virtually on the third Wednesday of each month. Members and non-members of the FSB are equally welcome and it doesn't matter where you are based. Feedback has been great and we've been told that it's a supportive, welcoming and inspiring hour. It's also free of charge.
Do we really want EVERYTHING to go back to the way it was in February 2020? We have all learned so much since then about technologies such as Zoom. Will they permanently change the way we run our businesses?
Maybe we haven't fully appreciated how much we have adapted to this strange world.
What are you going to do differently?
Liz is going to be taking us through the questions we need to ask ourselves as we plan for our post-Covid businesses:
- What are we NOT prepared to rush back to - and why?
- What has lockdown shown us about how we operate?
- What do we know about ourselves a year on?
- Are there fresh ideas and opportunities we should explore?
It's a session that won't answer those questions for you, but will hopefully prompt you to think from a slightly different and resourceful perspective and prepare for the future.
Everyone who attends gets a chance to speak for 30 seconds about their business and post all their contact details, website links etc in the meeting chatbox for others to download. To book your place at the meeting, click here.
For more about Liz, and the performance coaching work she does with individuals, look lizabram.co.uk or visit brezilliant.com for her work with teams, which she does with her business partner, Guy Hipwell.
Free publicity for small Burton businesses
Another project I work on, which that aims to bring a burst of optimism into the local business community, is Burton Small Business. I run this, as a labour of love, with fellow Burton-based business owners Cheryl Morris and Tilley Bancroft.
Last month we launched the #BurtonBusinessSpotlight. This was an idea from Cheryl to invite small, independent businesses in our town to share their stories with us and be featured once a month. Burton's specialist cheese shop, The Cheese Station was first off the mark and became our first-ever #BurtonBusinessSpotlight.
We aim to keep the mood upbeat on our social media channels and focus on the news and information that is positive and helpful. We're back in the routine of sending out a monthly email newsletter, so if you'd like to subscribe, you can subscribe here. If you want to submit your business for a future #BurtonBusinessSpotlight, there are more details here on our website.