It would be easy to allow COVID to mess up our adventurous business plans by flipping our mindset into a negative gear but we’re having none of it!
When lockdown hit in March our first priority was how to keep our members supported, positive and safe. The answer lay in swiftly reverting to online meetings to ensure they stayed connected. By doing this we were able to continue to offer a trusted environment to share concerns, advice & guidance ensuring our members did not feel isolated or on their own. Members acted as buddies for one another to stay motivated, focussed and on track to achieve even the smallest things each week. Our amazing mentors, always give so generously of their time and continued to pop in regularly to run business or personal development sessions to help us through these tricky times. Surrounding yourself with those who inspire you is another important factor, so we had successful entrepreneurs sharing their business stories including tales of how they got through more challenging business times including recession and the financial crash. The honesty of these entrepreneurial journeys gave us insight into what might lay ahead and how to make the best of all opportunities.
But now, more than ever we felt it was the time for businesses to have each other’s back and we knew we could do more…
We were aware of many small business owners and sole traders who didn’t have this level of support so, with our wonderful members’ blessing, we offered 12 complimentary virtual memberships. There were no strings attached, all we asked is that anyone taking a spot, gave the same level of commitment to the group as our existing members did. This proved to be valuable to those who accepted, and we know we not only made a difference but some great friends for the future too.
We won’t lie, we felt pretty proud of ourselves and buoyed by this success and the positive feedback we received decided to revisit our business plans for 2020. Our main goal was to find our first Business Spa Associate to work with Cathy, who set us up, to support and grow the Oxford group. We were looking for someone who shared our SMILE (our values encompass Support–Motivation–Inspiration–Learning-Expertise). They also had to be fun and committed to working to the same vision as us of partying with ALL members at their 10th anniversary celebrations – an achievement enjoyed by too few businesses sadly!
So, we just had to decide – dare we, and could we? Drum roll if you please….
We are delighted and excited to shout from the rooftops that Sharon Strickland-Clark, a Business Spa member for over a year, has joined us as our first Business Spa Associate. Sharon formed Bravetart Coaching (we love this name) to help women in business reignite their courage and find their inner brave. Sharon supports women to increase their confidence and then use it to realise the potential they have been holding inside. But don’t worry chaps she works with men too. In fact Sharon works in all kinds of business but mainly with freelancers who are looking to be more successful in promoting their business; SME business owners who want to learn powerful leadership skills for new and growing teams; and with those who want to build confidence that will help them to leave employment and embark on exciting new business opportunities.
Sharon will coordinate and drive our Oxford group on a day to day and strategic basis. She’ll bring her unique energy and passion to the group to help drive growth in membership numbers as well as shaping the dynamics of the group. She’ll also nurture the development of individual members and ensure that meetings included a plethora of opportunity for continuous professional and personal development.
“I can’t wait to sit in the Associate seat at The Business Spa, Oxford. As a member, I’ve found the support, mentorship and accountability really helped me both to keep going when working on my business felt isolating and tough, and to have more confidence that I knew I was on the right track. Every business owner who joins either as a member or as a guest is welcomed into a safe environment where it’s totally ok to show up not having all the answers. The opportunity for both mentoring and masterminding to support business development and growth mean joining The Business Spa is a smart investment. The meetings are structured so that start-ups and established businesses both get great value. There’s a strong sense of community in the group, we’re all in it together so it’s all wrapped up in a big fluffy robe of fun too!” Sharon Strickland-Clark, Bravetart Coaching
So, it’s full steam ahead with Oxford and we’re now going giddy and planning for two more groups next year that will both be led by Associates. Do bear us in mind if you are or know another Sharon who is serious about growing their own business and stepping up to the challenge of heading up a Business Spa group. Associates must run their own small businesses and be looking to strengthen their own professional networks and relationships through the SMILE they will offer.
Why not join us at one of guest meetings? We’d love to welcome you along.