Resilience was a word we heard a lot of this year and I think everyone needed to dig deep to find every ounce they had of it. I always thought resilience was a bit like a trampoline. You take the hits and bounce back, but it’s not.
It’s more like running a mountain trail with nothing to guide you. It takes time, you’ll have set backs and losses along the way, but eventually you’ll get to the top and look back on how far you’ve come.
And that last bit – the look back, is the really important part. As small business owners we tend to plough forward, take our wins and move on quickly. We don’t do the celebratory canteen get together, the big project launch. We just win and move forward.
We miss out on acknowledging the most important aspect of being resilient. When you get to the top of your mountain, you need to stop and consider what you’ve just achieved, before you set off to climb the next one.
Covid-19 has been one hell of a mountain to climb for everyone in our collaborative group this year. It steamrollered its way through our video and photography industries closing down events and limiting our ability to trade.
But we’re all still here. We’ve adapted and changed our businesses to continue working and have managed to keep going. When you’re asked to reflect on your wins this year, it’s hard not to focus on the reduced revenue and the inability to plan due to uncertainty and rolling lock downs.
In a recent monthly check in with our collaborative group of businesses we took time to stop and reflect and take stock of the year that was. Within the group, despite the downturn, we’ve had website updates and revamps, a move to more online trading and some who have even managed to stabilise or increase their revenue with new products and services.
For Coalesce it’s also been a year of change and achievement. In January we became part of the Going for Growth tribe as Orla our co-founder began her Starting Strong journey. We’ve rebranded as a company and are starting to tell our story a little better.
When everything shut down in March we kept talking to our clients and finding solutions for them at a pace we’ve never had to before. Social media became part of our journey for the first time. Our services offerings have grown to include video and will expand again further in 2021 and we also took our video services online and remote to keep our clients safe.
We’ve clarified our vision and mission and focused on what we do best; supporting and collaborating with other creatives, creating economic opportunities for small businesses and creating a circular economy within the group.
During the first lockdown in March and April, Coalesce wrote a Guide for Photographers and Videographers to create their own Covid 19 Business Response Plan. This was distributed to all photographers and videographers nationally by the IPPVA to help get the industry back to work in some form, albeit a changed one.
Coalesce has continued to expand the group of creatives we work with. We are transitioning from a Dublin centric company to one with a national outlook. A space which allows local economy to thrive and pushes work from Dublin to the regions where possible.
And in the last week we’ve had more wins. An award for Excellence in the Provision of Professional Photography and Videography Services Awards from the Public Sector Times and the completion just in time for Christmas of a big project we’ve been working on for the last four months.
We are learning to stop and celebrate these achievements properly, so we’ll keep you in suspense and let you know more about this project in January. We might even take time to stop for a quick virtual meeting with the team and share a few doughnuts and a cup of coffee.
Like all small businesses one project ends and another one has already started, so we’re not stopping here. Coalesce is growing into a community, a resilient community which encourages knowledge transfer within the group and works to make each other stronger together.
We’d love to welcome more women from the photography and video industry into the group. Our company’s core management is 75% female, we would like to see this reflected in the creatives that work with us. So any women working in the corporate side of video, press and PR photography shout out and make yourself known!
If this year has shown us anything it is that while individually we are remarkable; together we are exceptional. Our group have been there for each other, answering questions if they have the answer, finding solutions for other businesses in the group and just generally being there with another viewpoint, another experience, barrels of resilience and the ability to laugh (literally) in adversity.
Resilience is a slow push up a mountain and it helps to have someone running beside you or in our case a whole army pushing you from behind. We plan to visit a lot more mountain summits in 2021 so expect more from us and watch this space.
Our vision is simple.
We believe that together we are stronger.
We believe in creating a new way for individual creatives to come together, become stronger and create exceptional work.
collaboration, innovation and education will strengthen our creative community
and create a long-lasting coalition.