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A Year In Reflection

30 March 21 / Paul Houston

A year in reflection

We’ve seen a lot of news this week reflecting on the year that's passed since that announcement by Boris Johnson was delivered to the nation. There’s been a lot of reflection on the statistics of COVID and the impact it’s had on the NHS and the nation as a whole. It's safe to say that everyone has felt the impact.

However, rather than once more looking at the stats, we’re going to share what we feel is more of a positive view on what’s passed. A look back on what businesses have done to avoid closure, how we’ve managed to turn our own fortunes around, as well as the opportunities that have arisen for everybody in almost every industry.

A year and 2 weeks

Back in early March we took the decision to close our offices prior to any official government announcement. We saw what was happening, and though none of us could’ve predicted the unprecedented year that would follow, we knew that we had to put our teams safety first.

2 Weeks later Boris announced to the nation a national lockdown. After speaking with my business partner Sarah, we agreed it would be best to give our clients the opportunity to pause their contracts with us. We acknowledged that nothing like this had happened before and we had to do what was right.

So, on March 23rd 2020, I felt like we had no business. It was the beginning of the end of our beloved Catalyst. It was a gut-wrenching time, and I honestly had never experienced anything like it before, and hope that I never will again! Yet in times of crisis is when we see the best in people and our team pulled themselves together to persevere. We developed an emergency plan to adapt our messaging to drive new business whilst simultaneously supporting our clients as best we could.

An unprecedented summer

What followed was months of working remotely, going for walks, taking part in Zoom quizzes, and spending more quality time than ever with my family. But I won’t go into detail of those experiences as I hope to never take part in a Zoom quiz again.

Rather, we began to invest in our business. Looking back at the previous economic crisis, we found businesses that invested in themselves and took calculated risks were the ones who thrived afterwards.

As a result, we continued to market ourselves, shared insights and our knowledge with the market to provide value and assist businesses who were looking to improve their situations. Sure, we got some things wrong, for instance, the first email we sent out during lockdown one received hundreds of Out of Office responses, yet we also received lots of positive feedback and so we continued our efforts. More importantly, we kept this up for our clients too, keeping them front and centre with their audiences.

A different kind of Winter

As lockdown one started to lift we saw light at the end of the tunnel. Our clients were investing more into their campaigns to hit their markets, and we were also seeing an upturn in our own efforts.

Winter is always our busiest time of the year, it seems to be the time businesses acknowledge the need to reinvigorate their strategies and so they seek a partner to help them do so. This Winter was in fact the busiest in 10 years.

The continued effort of our marketing was paying off. We noticed a trend that businesses had realised there was an opportunity to be had. The perfect moment to launch a website, or a better marketing strategy was yesterday, the next perfect moment is today. Businesses which had been putting off their digital transformations, their website overhauls, or marketing strategies were now on the lookout for the right partner to help them grow. Which is where we fit in.

It was a great feeling ending 2020 in that way. Our clients were beginning to see pre-Covid levels of sales, and we were also onboarding new clients. The feeling I had on March 23rd seemed like an age away in comparison.

Moving forward

Unfortunately not all the businesses we worked with managed to recover in equal measure. Those in hospitality had been hit the hardest and there are some industries who will still be recovering slower than others. Yet, those who are able to adapt and have done so are starting to see their businesses recover from the covid dip.

As we use the lessons learnt from this past year we are optimistic of the year ahead. We’re looking forward to growing our clients' businesses in tandem with our own. We are hiring new team members, and are reinvesting in our own strategy to ensure we are positioned as best as we can be. For instance, we’ve just released a guide detailing our entire process of building a website that drives sales and leads. Sure, we are giving away our process but it could also help those businesses who are perhaps not quite ready to work with us but need that insight to grow.

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If you’re still reading this then perhaps you’re in the same position, and if you’re looking for a helping hand, a partner to turn your fortunes around and grow within your market then it's time to take the first step.

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