We were about two weeks into the coronavirus lockdown when Holly, my oldest and dearest customer, asked me to go over some cost-cutting ideas with her. The writing was on the wall: People in the UK were confined to their homes for the foreseeable and Holly ran an events company. Business was definitely going to dry up.
I had been supporting Holly’s company since they were a staff of five in a tiny office in the corner of an industrial estate. They were now 25 strong and in an office suite that Holly had custom designed and constructed to reflect her particular style and vision. She hadn’t furloughed her staff yet, but they were all working from home.
We talked about a few low hanging opportunities to cut expenses, but it became apparent that big-ticket items like rent (her landlord was not going to make any concessions) were going to be a burden. The furlough scheme would pay for her to retain the employees, but nothing beyond that.
Our company wasn’t being hit as hard. MSP IT Partners was only a few years old and we were still running lean. Our clients were mostly going to be able to pay their bills, and we were going to get government assistance to make up the difference.
After I spoke to Holly and saw what she was going to have to go through as a small business owner trying to stay afloat until early 2021, I realised that I could help. We were not a supplier and a customer, we were partners. I emailed Holly and told her that we would waive all of her support costs until her operation was back up and running.
Her gratitude was immediate and sincere. She recently told me when we were at her glorious office planning social distancing measures with an eye towards reopening, that we were the only supplier/partner that waived charges for them. It felt good for me because I had helped an old friend and partner to survive – cementing an existing relationship. I knew that Holly also felt like our partnership was enhanced by the gesture.
I can’t wait until they are fully up to strength and planning events again – not so we can get paid again, but because did I mention that they are my oldest and dearest customer? 😊