In these crazy times I would normally be thinking about the start of September as a time, almost like the start of January, to really roll up the sleeves and get ready to hit the ground running after the school holidays.
As a family we should have been in Greece these last two weeks, but like many others we couldn’t risk either illness or quarantine, so took the decision to postpone this until August 2021, and believe me we will be ready for it!
The last week or two have been busy for me personally as well as in business – my daughter received her GCSE Results last week, turned 16 the next day and enrolled in College. She’s very excited about starting her A Levels at Aquinas next week – new chapter, new journey. My son, who turned 14 at the start of the summer is less excited about returning to school at Hazel Grove High next week to really start his build up to GCSEs in 2022. After almost six months off it will be great to get them back into a routine, but may well come as a big shock to the system.
As for business, I wonder what the autumn will hold?
In recent months we have brought the team back into the office, on a rotation system to ensure there are never too many of us in at the same time.
It’s been wonderful to welcome clients into the office again too, for safe and socially distanced meetings. We don’t insist on masks being worn, but if our client prefers that we do so, then of course we will. We have a regular and thorough anti-bacterial deep clean, and you can’t turn around without seeing at least one hand sanitiser!
As some of you will know, we moved our monthly SUBS networking and learning event online when the pandemic began to become real in late March, and this has continued to be well received. Our next event is on 18th September where our guest speaker will be Carole Fossey from Strategic Social Media, sharing her insights on how to get the most out of your social media marketing strategy. As a TEDx speaker and author, Carole really knows how to engage with her audience and deliver a tonne of value, so let me know if you would like to be involved and I will send you a link to register.
We sent out our annual client satisfaction survey a few weeks ago, and have had some really useful feedback. I am doing my best to follow up with everyone who responded, so if you haven’t yet heard from me, please bear with me and I will be in touch. If you haven’t yet completed the survey I’d be grateful if you would, as it’s only by hearing your thoughts and feedback that we can continue to improve or service to you.
We are delighted though that of the 46 responses we have had so far, we have achieved a Net Promotor Score of 74 – which is exceptional, especially in a UK service business. If you’d like to know more about Net Promotor Scores and measuring customer satisfaction, here’s a link to an excellent article by the Harvard Business Review on the subject: https://hbr.org/2003/12/the-one-number-you-need-to-grow
Moving on to updates on business support relating to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, there is very little new news.
The promised update on the Kickstarter programme and other measures announced in the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ programme of 8 July has yet to materialise. We had expected further details in August, so we may yet hear something, but I would expect it will be September after the schools return before there are any further announcements.
There is one final (or final so far) round of grant funding which you may or may not be aware of, called the Small Business Recovery Fund. This was announced quietly on 30 July by the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government and will be awarded and administered in the Greater Manchester area by the Business Growth Hub. You can find out more about it via their website, and while it is not yet open, you can register your interest here: https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus/small-business-recovery-grants
The finding is aimed at small businesses who can demonstrate that they have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 and who can demonstrate how the funding will help them be more productive. So it can be used for either the purchase of new IT, technology or equipment; or for professional advice such as accountancy, HR or legal support. The successful applicants will receive 100% funded grants of between £1000 and £3000.
This note is already longer than I intended, so I will leave it there for now, and hope that if you do have any questions at all about any of the above, or anything you think we can help with, that you won’t hesitate to contact us.
Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend, and see you in September!!
PS Big thanks to Sue and Inness from Instilled for the image which I downloaded from their Stockport photo library: https://instilled.co.uk/resources/