Member spotlight: Pivoting positives from the year of crisis

In the wake of what’s been a year filled with unimaginable challenges for companies everywhere, we wanted to hear from some of our members on how they have pivoted 12 months of crisis into learnings and hopes for the future.

Jamie Clifton is Co-founder and Head of Commercial at Bolt – a growth marketing agency for B2B and professional services firms. Bolt, who occupy coworking space at The Brew Eagle House, is dedicated to supporting their clients across every element of a growth marketing strategy, from scoping out business direction, right down to the deliverables. So this year, when many companies will have prioritised preservation over expansion and growth, how have they faired and what have they learnt?

“Business-wise 2020 has been as good as we feel it could have been, we have grown multiple times and that’s to be expected in an early-stage business, [but like many] we have missed our revenue targets”, says Jamie. And when asked what the company has learnt from the last 12-months, Jamie expressed the importance of understanding the very core of your businesses offering, “if you were unsure of your company values coming into 2020, you should know them now!” But of course, internal operations is just half of the story, and whilst “you can plan and plan and plan for company success, you can’t plan for the unexpected”, Jamie explains, “sounds corny I know!”

After a challenging year, Jamie and his team are hoping to press the reset button in 2021, and “looking forward to having everyone back in a workplace and thinking big once again without being consumed by media and COVID-19 – [it’s about] having a real focus on what we can control” – a sentiment we’re sure is felt by many.

Kevan Bishonden, Co-Founder and Sales Director of Selazar – a business with its HQ at The Brew Eagle House, told us more about the impact of the pandemic and how the current climate has affected plans for the future in a positive way. As an end-to-end fulfilment platform for e-Commerce brands, Selazar are accustomed to supporting their clients through extensional growth, facilitating their ability to meet consumer demand, however quickly that might happen.

So now that more companies have migrated to an online offering, how have Selazar navigated these new behavioural patterns? “Due to COVID-19, there has been an accelerated surge in companies shifting their operations from bricks and mortar to eCommerce,” explains Kevan. “As Selazar is an eCommerce fulfilment specialist, we have seen an uptake of clients onboarding to our platform, partnerships forming and revenue growing. So like most businesses, 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a journey [for us].”

With such a significant uplift in their client base, the past year is likely to have had some steep learning curves. “There have been numerous lessons learnt from this year.  For me, one lesson that stands out is the importance of open communication between teams. Selazar is incredibly grateful for the hard-working people that we have around us. If you look after your staff, they will look after you, and in turn, your business,” says Kevan. Recognising how changing working habits have impacted his team, Kevan hopes to put wellbeing at the forefront of future plans “It has been challenging to work from home for many people. The mental health and wellbeing for our staff has been one of the most important lessons for this year and something we intend on strengthening as the business grows.”

And like Jamie, Kevan’s hopes for 2021 also focus on being able to spend time as team in person, “the company is growing incredibly quickly. Seeing our teams grow and working together face-to-face in an office is something which I am personally looking forward to.

“We have big plans ahead with alot of exciting features coming out in 2021, and being able to help customers grow their business and streamline their operations is what we specialise in, and we look forward to helping even more companies expand next year”, we’re with you on that Kevan.

A big thank you to our fantastic members Jamie and Kevan for taking to the time to share their reflections on the last year, along with the exciting plans for the future. We hope you too have been left feeling inspired and galavanised to pivot a year of crisis into ambition and goals for 2021.