Image with text "Unforeseen Circumstances"

Unforeseen Circumstances in a Start-up

Come in, come in! Welcome to the first entry of my ‘Diary of a Start-up of a CEO’. Make yourself feel at home.

My name is Matt Greg and I’m the CEO and founder of NOSY Marketing; an agency based in the South of England, on the Isle of Wight. Our business has been running for 3 years and employs 14 creatives.

NOSY 3rd Birthday Event | Henry & Loz couldn’t make it due to illness

During our company’s journey, I’ve encountered countless “If only I knew that…” moments. Therefore, my mission for this diary is to bring people value through a very transparent view of what’s happening in our business. I hope that these stories inspire you to try something new (or avoid some things like fire!); as I explore what worked for me and what was a complete flop.

I will never pretend to have all the answers and it’s certain that some things I write will turn out to be wrong shortly after. So, take my stories with a pinch of salt and remember that your circumstances are different. Anyway, enough housekeeping. Let’s dive in.

What happened this week?

It’s Saturday the 23rd of October and as I look back at this week – (honestly) I’m feeling quite lost. The key topic of discussion is ‘Unforeseen Circumstances’. 

We knew that it will be a more challenging week than normal due to two staff being on holiday. Then, three people tested positive for COVID. We had to close the office and ask all staff to take a PCR test. Mid-way through the week; two more staff had to take time off due to family-related issues. You can see why we’re discussing unforeseen circumstances!

Firstly, the team had to be guided on what happened and how to respond. We alerted the staff about the office closure and I asked our Operations Director (April) to write a guidance email first thing on Monday, this included:

  • Where to obtain COVID tests and how often to take them
  • Guidance for the video team, who would be disrupted due to self isolation periods prior to getting test results
  • How to cancel meetings or move them to be virtual 
  • Dealing with deadlines and work disruptions
  • Encouragement to reach out to the management team if any issues arise related to overwhelm, working from home, mental health etc.

Throughout the week, the team stayed updated with daily meetings and emails. NOSY uses Slack for daily communications, which helped hugely with everyone working from home.

Two filming sessions from this week
Following a negative PCR test, filming continued!

This week’s lesson

The most important lesson I learned is about keeping calm in times of crisis and relying on the team to support the situation. Trust is so important. When we lose control, we want to ‘do everything’… but we can’t. The burden should, actually, it must be shared. Whilst not perfect – this week wasn’t a ‘disaster’ and under the circumstances, it could’ve been. We managed to continue working, film, meet virtually and deliver the work. 

I imagine that this winter, your business will experience a situation similar to what happened to NOSY this week. I encourage you to pause for a moment, speak to the team, find out how they’re feeling and create a simple, clear plan on how you’ll deal with the situation. Firefighting from one task to another doesn’t work in unforeseen circumstances.

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