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  • Writer's pictureLouise Edwards CEO and Founder of ALPIECE

From Networking in London, New York & Vienna to the Local Park

Starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic is not crazy - only different.

I am not going to dwell about the challenges, instead I will be focusing on the positives and the incredible realisations I have had when starting a new venture in our national lock-down.

Apart from having the opportunity to spend more time with my children, the second best thing with the situation we are in is that it has made me feel much more connected with my local community in more than one way.

Suddenly I am at home when the Postman delivers his letters or when Amazon Prime is pressing the door bell with a flow of daily deliveries with endless stuff that my children have ordered (without my knowledge). A local window cleaner knocks on my door to offer his services, a gardener shows up with a special offer, a handyman, a charity representative, and someone else who wants to clean my gutters. A steady stream of local businesses sales interactions.

All these businesses that have not been able to connect with me before because I wasn't at home or available to open the door. This got me thinking: How can we change this? How can I help local businesses become more available and accessible to someone who always google and check reviews before buying anything? The conclusion is: A small scale affordable, but equally important Digital Transformation.

One daily highlight has been the allowed visit to the park which has felt like the grand tour of a social adventure of a life time - did all these people live here before? Did they just never go out?

This is where it really happens now: The Local Park. Not at a conference centre or networking event around the world which was the norm before the Pandemic.

I wave, smile and stop and chat at a safe distance to friends, neighbours, dog owners, dog walkers, parents from the local schools, some which I haven't seen for years.

Families on big walks, parents playing football with their children in the park, child-minders, coaching sessions, runners, joggers, bikers, walkers, young and old people. Everyone with a story, a business, a job and ideas for change and improvements.

The park is heaving.

My pipeline of interested local business owners, many of them close friends, is growing for each walk and conversation. It's exciting and unexpected. It feels so good to connect with people locally for a change and the growing feeling that I can really make an impact and help and improve their businesses is very satisfying. I am already dreaming about the local Christmas Party we can have to celebrate our successes that we have achieved together.

The outdoors makes wonders for you mind

What is so great with that extra time outside is that it helps many people reflect and think. It can give you that extra space to grow ideas, find your purpose and reinvent. Many have understood during 2020 that they have to digitally transform even if they are a company of one person. The lessons have been taught the hard way for many recently. The digital presence, availability and foot print is becoming more and more essential for survival. Most important is it to be seen and engage with your customers at the right time with the right product or service, on the right platform with enough reviews and a slick payment solution - because if you don't someone else will. The good news is that great solutions are available for you. You can be up and running in a few days time with a solid strategy, plan and website.

It can be an easy and fun journey.

At the moment I am supporting a range of businesses to go to that next digital level, and one of them is a converted park lead: Waggy Walks and Pet Services, a service I personally and warmly recommend all dog and pet owners living in Surbiton and surrounding areas to contact. If you are a Key Worker or a Vulnerable person special discounts are available. Three days ago this was a word of mouth business, today you can find this business online.

I saw an image shared on LinkedIn a few weeks back that really resonated with me:

"If my friend is an accountant, that's where I am doing my taxes.

If my friend opens a bar, that is where I drink.

If my friend open's a restaurant, that is where I am going to eat.

Others might have better prices, but I'm helping my friends build their business.

We will succeed together!"

The world is changing, how is it effecting you?

Let's connect and see what we can do together.

Stay safe and well!

Louise Edwards


Connect, Create & Transform

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