Week 3 – Sad News
“A man of value is a real gentleman. He respects, guides and helps everyone around him irrespective of their gender, race, creed. He knows his limits, has a great conscience and is noble, just and active..”
Week 3 saw us lose a Client, a Friend, a Co-Campaigner, a fellow Human Rights Activist and a proud Townie.
Frank Larkin, died last Friday and was buried on Monday, at a funeral with almost no mourners. This was not a COVID death. He was regularly referred to as Wee Frank, but he was a big man, with a sharp brain and a wealth of empathy. His loss is having a profound effect on us and on his very extensive connections, especially his true love and wife Pauline.
A year ago we set up Access Ireland with Frank to deliver Disability Awareness Training. Frank was train the trainer qualified. This enterprise was just taking off and was looking very promising.
It is hard to get past this news and we are wondering how we can help our community remember Frank. He leaves a big gap. He campaigned for so many people with disability, whether that was getting accessible parking at the new courthouse or getting heard by politicians Nationally or in Europe HQ. He would be disappointed if this gap is not filled by someone new.
Status at Work for MEANit
Productivity is being somewhat affected by working remotely and the fact that everyone is so focused on COVID. It is a huge emotional distraction or worry. Some clients have postponed projects, some have challenges getting content because they have closed down premises temporarily. Or they cannot physically get out to create the content. In order to be able to support all our clients we need to maintain enough of a team to work as close to normal as possible. Software does not care about pandemics and in fact hackers love a crisis.
The number of enquiries has gone up substantially as people plan for a post COVID future. It is obvious that people are going to focus on doing a lot more business online. Likewise, we need to plan for considerable expansion in 2021. There is a definite trend towards working with competent, experienced web design agencies with a proven track record. Cheap or low cost options do not look so attractive anymore, as people realise they had not been working for them. There was no return on the low investment. So it is time to get serious about this aspect of the business.
Zoom has become an everyday tool for business people now. Yes there was some news about them sharing data with Facebook. We doubt you need to worry abut that unless you are working in a very sensitive area.
Remote working is very much the norm now. Smart business leaders are planning for doing business online in future. There is no knowing how long COVID will be around. Or when the next virus will hit, but it will. So it is is time to change the business model somewhat.
The Whatsapp group set up by Toni Forrester at the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce is still working wonderfully well. It is bringing local business people together. They are seeing the benefits of their Chamber membership. The generosity of people in that group has been wonderful, so many friendships are being forged. And so many people are delighted to be able to be of service. A few use the platform to whine, but for the vast majority it is about helping and seeking advice.
Donegal Business Network supported by ETB Donegal is to hold a Zoom Workshop with Jo Collins on April 14th at 11.00 am for one hour in conjunction with Donegal Women in Business Network and Letterkenny Chamber.- ‘Communicating with Customers in a COVID Climate’ Register FREE here.
Now is the time to invest in our future, create a new business plan, factor in the new normal. In the near future people will not want to get close to each other, they will be wary, because COVID will be here to stay, at some level. Lifestyles will change, people are getting used to eating at home, getting more fast food, getting home deliveries and shopping online. They will do meetings online, do webinars, avail of online learning, courses, classes, trainings.
Normal is not returning 100% or even near it. Be prepared for a new way of doing almost everything. Now is a time to invest in some upskilling, to improve your processes, how you do things. Certain areas will become more competitive, so the better you are the more business you can look forward to getting. To ignore the changed environment, to shun the new responsibility, will see you and your business suffer, along with your family and staff. Now is the time to be proactive, do not wait for some gong that says we are COVID free – it will not ring.
Do talk to your Accountant, the Chamber of Commerce or the Local Enterprise Office. Ignore any pessimists or naysayers, the prophets of doom. They are having a field day, but their futures are in doubt as people go online in search of useful positive advice. Ignore Social Media opinion, stop binge watching the News or Netflix, look for inspiration, help and advice.
The Donegal Local Enterprise Office building is still closed to the public, however the team is very much working furiously behind those closed doors. This is a good first port of call. Likewise, if you have a positive accountant talk to them now or get a new one that is forward thinking. One who is not frozen in the headlights of COVID. Get one who is ready to help you tackle the challenges you face.
We all have a lot of work to do, if we are to protect and create more jobs in our community. As Entrepreneurs, business leaders, managers, we signed up for this, so now lets show some leadership, to help each other get through this temporary challenge or change to the way we conduct our business.
#stayapartstaywell #letterkennychamber #thisbusinessispersonal #COVID19 #SelfIsolationHelp #coronavirus
See COVIDiary Week 4 here when we publish next week.