We are 12 months into our virtual lunchtime conversations which have taken the place of our long-standing and popular lunches. Each month for the past year our invited guests have discussed a business related issue, shared experiences and offered tips and advice to each other. Inevitably some of the discussions dwelt on the pandemic and as business owners how we have coped, survived and thrived with the unique circumstances we have faced.
But we have also discussed a wide range of subjects that have helped us all with ideas on how better to manage our businesses. The following is an example of our conversations. If they interest you and you are a business owner wishing to join us, please get in touch.
We started on a positive note last April by discussing and sharing a number of questions that we might ask ourselves to enhance our businesses during the pandemic. These included questions around supporting our remote teams, engaging with our communities and modifying service offerings for an increasingly online world.
By June with more experience of ‘lockdown’ and the pandemic we were talking about ‘low touch, high hygiene’ working. It is interesting that in early 2021 we are talking about the need for hand hygiene and face mask wearing as an ongoing seasonal requirement for the winters ahead.
In mid-summer we were discussing our attitude to risk – not in a health sense, but for our businesses. We contrasted a ‘fixed’ with a ‘growth’ mindset (with a nod to the work by Carol Dweck) and how we apply different thinking to how we develop the services we offer the teams we lead.
In post-lockdown September, our focus was on whether or not we would be returning to ‘normal’ business practices and how much of what we have had to do in the previous six months would become embedded for the future. Little did we know that the choice would be removed with the second wave of the virus. It was refreshing to hear that in addition to widespread and successful adoption of remote working some businesses had successfully undertaken a strategic review and pivoted to offer new services in new markets.
By the end of 2020 we were all feeling the pressures and responsibilities of leading, energising and protecting our teams. This ranged from a conversation about trusting our home working colleagues through to care for their working environment and mental health, through to keeping them and ourselves energised.
December saw a fun and successful charity focused event with guests putting into limericks, poems and even song their business offerings. Along with a great fund-raising raffle for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices it was a great end to 2020.
Into 2021 and we were back on more strategic matters with a timely conversation about plans for the year ahead and how much, if it all, our plans for this year had been influenced by the past year. Our year of discussions has concluded with a reminder of the importance of being proactive in seeking new business through referrals and the value of considering our clients’ overall experience of our services.
With a roadmap for the unwinding of lockdown restrictions, schools re-opening, Spring upon us and the prospect of more social interaction there is a palpable sense of renewed energy. As a business community we will continue to support each other, encouraging growth and creativity, and look forward to more engaging conversations whether online or face-to-face.
For more information about the Henchards business discussions, and our exit planning services for owners looking to complete their business journey in the next two to five years, drop us a line.