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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus

By Kirsty Wick of Birthgently. Kirsty started her business in 2014. She offers hypnobirthing courses for groups or private one to one courses. Also many other workshop and online sessions supporting pregnant women's emotional health and wellbeing.

When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business? 

About three or four weeks ago when watching the news and seeing what was happening in Italy and other countries. Then the talk of possible school closures and the realisation of the economic impact that this was going to have. It all started to feel very real and a lot closer to home. It was no longer something happening else where. 

Then events started to be cancelled, people started to change their behaviour. Then my clients started cancelling.

The problem for my business I quickly identified was that people were very worried about money, cutting back on non essentials. I would not be able to offer face to face services which makes up two-thirds of my business.  

What has been your plan to continue? 

I have been wanting to move my business online for the last 18 months and since January 2020 I had put a marketing strategy in place to support that. I was already set up operationally to expand my online services. 

So for me it has been a case of very suddenly having to ramp up and implement those plans. I also implemented a policy of only 

working with my pregnant clients online before the recent guidelines came into effect. I cancelled workshops in April and May. I put in place an alternative for those that had already booked.

I've sadly given notice on my therapy room. I've been showing up as much as I can on social media. I decided to acknowledge what was happening rather than carry on regardless. I've been giving away hypnobirthing MP3s and ebooks.

I went back to look at my ideal client and reassess what their most urgent problems are in light of covid 19 that I can help and support them with.

I've been having lots of conversations with my clients so I really understand how this is affecting them. 

When it was announced that pregnant women were in the high risk group I felt shocked. I was very upset as the reality of what this means for those women really hit home hard.  I am very concerned about the mental health and emotional well being of my clients. I can't imagine a worse time to be pregnant and have a baby. 

But it has been very galvanising. I feel that I am in an excellent position to really help and be of service in a meaningful way. My background is in nursing and that drive to help others and step up in a crisis never diminishes. 

Moving forward I feel I have to be proactive, constantly assess what is happening on a daily basis and respond appropriately. I hope I can maintain this level.of flexibility and keep providing what is needed.

I've already designed and written a new low price mini workshop so more women can access my support and services.

I think as long as I can keep in touch with the reality of the situation for my clients and continue to meet their needs it will be ok. I am mindful of the economic impact and will keep trying to respond to that in terms of my pricing.

What advice would you give to others in business? 

We are in utered territory. I think the biggest challenge is to trust ourselves, trust that we know our business, trust that we know our clients and that based on that knowledge we know what the right decisions are. 

We have to be incredibly flexible, adaptive and brave. We have to show up courageously. And find our own unique path through the fear and uncertainty. 

It is also vital that we take care of ourselves. This is a long game and we need to pace ourselves and be thinking of the future even if we don't yet know what that is. 

What can we do to help each other?

Keep doing business where I can. If I can afford to keep a paid service I am. I'm focussing my support on small local business. 

Share ideas, be a shoulder to cry on, share successes when it will inspire others. Stay connected. 

What do you think can be learned from this in the business world?

  • That there is an opportunity in adversity to really be of service and to be innovative. 
  • The importance of really truly and deeply understanding your client.
  • Having a business structure that is able to adapt. 
  • Having contingency plans in place.
  • We can make changes quickly, be more decisive, be more focussed than we realise.  

Your parting thought?

That we should all feel really proud of the innovative, creative, kind, brave, supportive response that so many SMEs have demonstrated.

For more information visit www.birthgently.co.uk 

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Swindon

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy

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

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