Chalk Talks S2: A Reflection
As Chalk Talks season 2 draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on all the interviews we had in the series and consider what we can learn from them as our business community navigates through this next phase of pandemic recovery.
Space for Opportunity
This period has caused no end of struggles for many businesses. However what we can also say is that with the monumental shift in normal life forced upon us, it has created space for some incredible creativity and opportunity. At an individual level, you have people rising from adversity by starting a new business venture, with some inspiring accounts shared with us by Abel Dos Santos (All This Analogue) and Nikki Elliott-Taylor (Hope and Graze). Plus at an organisational level, you have a company like Wright Flow adapting its manufacturing practices to still meet demand safely, whilst simultaneously responding to a new service request from the 'Covid Economy'.
What really struck me in having these conversations was the energy and passion I was hearing. These words sound so cliché, but despite an unsettling year and having to take a big leap of faith in adjusting their livelihoods or business practices, these business owners were thriving from this challenge. It's partly a mindset thing and a sign of strong leadership; what I believe will help these individuals ultimately succeed.
There will be other businesses out there who have, of course, been hit so hard that for them it's more about survival than opportunity. It was good to hear from Caroline Ansel and Mike Watson that support for these businesses will continue into this year. However, I think there is work to be done to ensure that those organisations are really clear on what that support looks like. It's not just about loans or grants but also professional support with key business activities, such as marketing, which could give them the extra push needed to cross over into a slightly more stable position.
Looking to the future
One thing is for sure: I don't think there is a business out there that will get away with doing things the same as they have always done. We looked at recruitment as just one example of how this landscape has changed, where any business reverting back to its 2019 approach is at risk of being drowned in applications and potentially missing some real (and perhaps hidden) talent.
As things continue to shift in 2021, with some business chapters ending and others just beginning, I would like to think that Chalk could play some role in helping us to regroup as a business community. How can we work together to strengthen Eastbourne's digital economy? Can we use this time to bring in some new talent, and connect with emerging or re-emerging businesses for whom digital services could be the linchpin to their success?
A final thank you
A big thank you to all who took part in this latest podcast series, and to you out there for listening. We hope to run another series in the latter part of the year as we look forward to our Chalk digital event which we hope to run in 2022. THIS WILL NOT BE VIRTUAL! So AMEN to that. Until then, we will keep in touch through our newsletters and social media channels.