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Your Total Guide To Business

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My Back To Business Strategy

By Graeme Leighfield, Managing Director of GEL Studios based in South Marston, Swindon. The company is a full-service creative agency.

Summarise how Covid-19 has affected your organisation? 

Our sales pipeline has been halted - meaning cash flow has been tight. Thankfully we've been in constant communication with all of our prospects, meaning post lockdown, and depending on the impact to that prospect's business, work will continue, just later than planned. 

What has been your plan to continue?  

Business as usual. I have thought it imperative to demonstrate to our customer base that as a technology-focused company, we can operate remotely with little or no disruption in our day to day operations. 

I'm pleased to say that this has been the case - with several clients reaching out to us for advice about how to navigate these uncertain times. This is what led to a blog post I wrote about how to stay productive remotely. https://www.gelstudios.co.uk/blog/staying-productive-from-a-distance/ 

How have things changed over the last few months?  

We've been very lucky because it hasn't. Our projects are typically large, and span months, not weeks which has provided a good working backlog for the team to work through - coupled with our retained based model of working with clients. We've had a constant steady stream of work which has kept the whole team busy. 

As lockdown eases what measures have you put in place to get back to business? 

We've made plans to move the office around to observe social distancing measures, and purchased COVID-19 graphics to display in and around our office.

What has been the most challenging aspect of all of this? 

For us, our dynamic of working with a remote team has been the biggest challenge. As a creative business, we thrive off the input of others in the office, to harness this energy remotely has been a challenge, but one we've embraced. Daily team catch-ups, messaging, and team quiz nights have been important to not only keep us sane but to ensure we still remain connected - even at a digital level. 

What has been the most positive aspect? 

For us, the greatest positive aspect has been the confirmation that we can operate remotely with no interruption to our day to day ways of working. Any interruptions we have faced, we've overcome as a team quickly and efficiently! Another positive aspect that my team might say, is that whilst in lockdown, every Friday is a half-day. This is because I know that working from home can be stressful, so a few extra hours on a Friday to wind down can come in handy for the weekend! 

Has it made you consider how you feel about other businesses/suppliers/customers/clients for good or otherwise? 

Yes - one negative about this situation has been the small minority of late payers for work owed. I've had to have several tough conversions due to individuals not paying, and simply ignoring my team's efforts of communication. 

All we've ever asked is for those in need, is to ask for help, and we will be more than compassionate to them. Quite simply, we can't help, if we don't know! 

How important is this phrase to you – ‘buy local, supply local’? 

This has always been an important phrase to us, COVID-19 or not. Supporting SMEs is the lifeblood of local business. However just because you are an SME, doesn't mean you should depend on that phrase, you should respond with great service, and most importantly attention to your customers in ways that larger corporations can simply never do. Customers want to be loved!

What are your top tips at this time? 

1. Ensure routine. Set calendar reminders for all for daily catch ups, lunch breaks, and set clear expectations for working hours.

2. Daily catch ups. 70% work, 30% AOB. Seeing your team's faces and hearing their voices MATTERS. Structure your catchups into previous days work, today's plan of work and anything else. Randomly choose your team members to give updates, and ensure everyone is engaged.

3. Round robin everyone. Throughout the day, drop in on each of your team, and see how they are, be it constant comms or assure them that you're always there for them. 

How can we buy from you? 

Creating your brand is incredibly important. Ensuring that your brand displays exactly who you are and what you stand for, as well as making sure it's different from your competitors can be a hard task, but we've teamed up with Total Guide to, to offer free one-page website with a branding box to help those that need help getting their brand to stand out. Find out more about the offer here.

Also, offering £500 off a kickstarter website and 1 years free hosting for those who are new to the web or you've already had your first website created but you feel you need a little help with improving your web presence, then this offer is perfect for you! Find out more about the incredible offer here.

Your parting thought? 

Don't be afraid to ask for help, and keep morale high both to your customers/clients but to your team too.  

To find out more visit https://www.gelstudios.co.uk

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Swindon

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

6 Gold View, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 8GZ

GEL Studios

Unit 2, 3 Lancaster Place, South Marston Park, Swindon, SN3 4UQ

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