As an entrepreneur I’m continually dreaming big and looking for new ways to educate, motivate and inspire others. This means I’m always watching educational videos or listening to podcasts whilst exercising or commuting, and essentially doing as much self-education as I possibly can in order to be the best leader I can be.
When we were going into the first lockdown back in March 2020, I stumbled across a video of Jeff Bezos talking about what great entrepreneurs need. Number one was that they needed to be resilient whilst the second was that they needed to be nimble in business. Essentially entrepreneurs need to be able to take a punch, pivot when necessary, keep up with where the world is headed and not become outdated. As it turns out, with hindsight this was an incredibly important video for me to watch as we headed into the first nationwide lockdown.
My business is a sales business primarily consisting of call centres and field teams across the UK. In the call centres everyone works in close proximity and the field sales are all face to face with customers meaning both of these fundamental aspects of my business were banned during lockdown. As a result of this, a lot of my competition actually stopped working altogether, they shut up shop and went on holiday which unfortunately caused a lot of people to suffer. Although I could’ve followed suit, shut up shop and taken a year off, I knew that this wasn’t a possibility with many of my team. True leadership after all is leading from the front and doing things for your people, not for yourself. I wanted to see how far I could push myself, how brilliant my team actually was, knowing that if we could figure out how to grow the business in a pandemic we would come out the other end so much stronger, not only as a business or a team but also individually.
So we took Jeff Bezos’ advice and pivoted. We figured out how to set up a home-based telesales solution for our teams. One where they could be at home in their bedrooms or in a designated space and still work successfully and still make money with commissions on top. To tell the truth it was an exciting time. I was in a position where I could take a punch as obviously income had all but stopped yet we were determined to follow this through. So we invested hundreds of thousands into setting up a home based telesales solution which involved sending out laptops via couriers all over the UK in order to make it work.
After that initial expenditure our next challenge was to figure out life on Zoom; a challenge we shared with businesses around the whole world! All of the aspects of our face-to-face business that we took for granted including training and conferences, we had to ensure that we continued to make just as much of an impact if not more, over video call.
Our second phase on Zoom was figuring out how to help people. As lockdown progressed, alongside the isolation and sense of uncertainty that went with it, we saw the toll it was taking on everyone, especially on the extroverts who make up the majority of sales people. So we needed a Zoom culture. We got everyone involved in the ideas process and did daily challenges, AM yoga, dress-up Fridays, pizza parties, endless quizzes and had loads of fun. Because of this and more we were able to come out the other end with a successful telesales campaign and an even more successful Zoom culture.
Now that we’ve moved back into the call centres and are back out in the field, we’ve been able to take what we’ve learned these last 3 lockdowns and implement that into positively affecting our business. Personally, we’re not getting back to what we’re used to. The lockdown has changed us, we’re in a new world now and that world is different, has progressed and moved on. We need to do the same as a business. We’ve maintained the home-based telesales solution which has had the added benefit of spreading our recruitment area to the entirety of the UK, not just the commutable distance around our offices giving others the ability to work for us, when they wouldn’t have been able to before.
Our dedicated and permanent telesales team now consists of over 200 members, and we call it Nationwide. We’ve embraced our Zoom culture and have incorporated its use in our daily business to further connect, educate, motivate, inspire, and support our team members across the UK. All that we’ve learned over the 3 lockdowns has helped us bring our business forward and keep up with the ever-changing business world.
Keep smashing it,
What I’m listening to:
- Invent & Wander by Jeff Bezos
- Legacy by James Kerr