A year ago.
A year ago today, we were at the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) awards – when the world was beginning to change. When we kept expecting events to be cancelled, when we had heard of anti bac gel, when we were elbow bumping people – but the world carried on, ever hopeful that our lives could continue as before.
In our last ‘normal’ week we won an award.
We won the self employed/sole trader award for the North East, winning against some amazing businesses and anticipated heading to London in May for the grand finals.
We did a post on social media, but as the world, country, region and every business and household began to grasp the severity and impact of covid 19, our award slipped into the back of people’s minds. Quite right too.
5 days later we closed our clinic, furloughed all our reception staff, launched a new website and online pilates was born! Our income dropped by 95% overnight. An income that we needed to pay our staff, our rent on premises, our mortgage and feed our children. With both Mark and I being full time in the business, the impact could have destroyed our business.
It is hard to blow your own trumpet, to recognise what you have achieved in business. We are British and we really don’t pat ourselves on the back enough, do we? In those early few weeks, with stress levels soaring, I recall Zack (aged 10) rest a hand on my shoulder and say “it’ll be alright, mum, you know.” Yes, it will.
Why will it be alright?
Because we didn’t accept that it wouldn’t be. We knew our clients still needed us but in a different way. We knew that we had so much to offer in terms of knowledge, guidance, advice and help – from online pilates and online physio. Funny tik tok videos we did as a family once a week, with the only intention of brightening peoples’ days and lifting spirits. Videos of stretches, postural advice and help for home workers. This was not about sales. This was about connection. This was about our community. This was also an opportunity to look at the business, really look at the business and use it as a chance to refocus, adjust and shift.
A year on and I am proud of winning the award. I am proud that six and a half years ago, I made the decision to go self employed and begin the journey which led me to where we are at, where the business is at today.
Has it been easy? Of course not! It’s been challenging, exhausting, frustrating, often upsetting and draining but it has also been exhilarating, rewarding, uplifting, strengthening and at times hilarious! It enables me to work alongside Mark, my husband and fellow physio, something which we had talked about for a long time but only in August 2019 did Mark leave the NHS completely and begin to work full time in the business. Do not underestimate how much courage making that leap took for him, making the decision to leave a really good, salaried income and head into the unknown of self employment, of varying income and additional challenges. We all have our comfort zones and I am forever grateful that Mark took that leap so we can journey together, hopefully heading towards a life of more balance, greater job satisfaction and the opportunity to continue growing our business with a wonderful team around us and a loyal client base who receives consistent, expert care, where they are treated as individuals and who are met with understanding, expertise and professionalism, without judgement, expectation or question.
So, where is Tayloredfit heading and does it look any different to last year?
We already look quite different to last year.
When we closed a year ago, our team at Tayloredfit included a wonderful twenty four people, a mixture of employed or self employed staff who either fee shared or who rented treatment rooms and the studio. Thank you to team tayloredfit past – you brought wisdom, clarity, focus and allowed us to grow. Our team now looks very different. We are a much smaller team and we are shifting our focus to areas in the business which are the core treatments and services that you value the most. There will be no surprises here I am sure.
Physiotherapy, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, mummy MOT/ women’s health, sports therapy, sports massage, podiatry, chiropody and physio led pilates are now our primary focus areas. Everything you tell us and your behaviours have really validated where we are going as a business. Don’t worry if you don’t see your favourite class or treatment here! Yoga, including aerial yoga (can’t wait!), baby classes, kids classes and holistic treatments are still on our agenda and will be provided but in terms of team growth, the focus has changed.
If you’d told me a year ago that we would win a business award I may have believed you. This is not big headed, just an acknowledgement of what we have achieved over a relatively short period of time. If you’d told me a year ago that all these changes were coming, that we’d be wearing PPE and having 15 minutes in between every client I would not have believed you. If you’d told me a year ago that our business would be stronger and more successful with less people and less treatments I would have laughed out loud. But here we are, heading out of lockdown, in whatever way and whatever timelines look like, as a stronger, healthier, more resilient business than ever. We are heading towards a brighter, clearer future and we will be forever grateful to our clients, our team, those behind the scenes and those who have lifted, guided, supported, encouraged and consistently fought our corner, all the way. We love you in our corner. We see you. You see us. You are our tribe. We thank you. We salute you.