COVID has hit every business in one way or another, some have found new opportunities and growth whereas others are left with little or no work and various hoops to jump through to try and scrape by this tough time.
uSports was hit pretty hard by restrictions when schools closed in March. Fortunately, we are now in a position where we are slowly recovering and coming back stronger than ever! I wanted to share some of the lessons we have learnt during our recovery from COVID.
Things didn't really start returning to some sort of normality until the end of July. The government delayed the confirmation of the PE and Sport Premium funding for schools but also the guidance on how to safely run Summer Holiday Camps was given very shortly before the holidays began. This gave us very little time to prepare for the holidays and our schools very little time to make decisions on their budget allocation for the new year. We found ourselves working well into the night and hearing back from schools long into the summer break when usually everything will be finalised before schools break up.
First lesson: React quickly to changes in the environment
Luckily, the 2020 summer was one of the most successful summers we have ever had. A full camp every day with a waiting list was a pleasant surprise after what has been a tough year. As soon as the guidance was released, we updated all of our policies and procedures and opened our booking system accordingly within 24 hours to allow us to offer our services.
Second Lesson: Prepare as if everything will continue as it is
July also gave us time to prepare for the return to schools in September with Danielle being brought back in from Furlough to help arrange the work that was coming back in. It is better to be prepared and then to make adjustments later down the line than rushing at the last minute as you weren't expecting things to go ahead.
Third Lesson: There is a huge pool of talent waiting to be recruited at the moment
Like many companies, we also lost a few members of staff who had to go and find alternative work during lockdown. We were fortunate enough to welcome in a number of fantastic new sports coaches who were all fully onboarded and had been trained in coaching during COVID before their first sessions.
Fourth Lesson: Appreciate what you have around you today
We have learnt that we need to act quickly and with a purpose to ensure we can maintain the same quality of service which we have come to be know for even with the extra guidelines in place for delivering sports sessions. The lockdown period taught us to appreciate the team we have and has only given us more motivation to grow the business to provide more opportunities to our coaches.
Fifth Lesson: Don't be afraid to grow a business if the opportunity is there
Having decided that we didn't want to just hold on to what we had, we decided to bring in a business support manager. This role is now filled and has given me the time to really focus on where the business is going whilst being confident that we can continue to look after our partnered schools at the same time.