As we reach the midway point of 2021, our CEO, Jonathan Sealey, reflects on what he has learnt and how Hope Capital faced the challenge of Covid-19 and weathered the storm.
There is no doubt the pandemic has changed the patterns of daily and work life like no other recent event. However, while we are not quite on the other side, it is fantastic to be in a position where we can now see light at the end of the tunnel.
The past year has certainly presented its challenges, however owing to the hard work and commitment of the Hope Capital team, as well as the support from our fantastic brokers, clients and partners, I am extremely proud (and unbelievably grateful!) to be in a position as a business, where we are continuing to see an increase in enquiries and completions.
There are many lessons I have learnt throughout 2020 and 2021, which have helped me as a business leader to grow and devise a business model that is conducive to short-term survival, as well as long-term resilience and growth.
Here are the 10 principal lessons I have learnt:
- Teamwork is vital. Having a solid foundation of unity has always been at the heart of Hope Capital. However, prioritising new approaches to collaboration and teamwork has proven particularly important during the pandemic, where we spent many months settling into a new norm of working from home when required to do so. Establishing new learning opportunities, improving communication levels and showing the team how much I appreciate their hard work and commitment has been paramount to our continued success.
- Continue consistent communication. Providing clear and accurate communication has always been integral to the business, both internally and externally. We worked hard at the beginning of the pandemic, to develop an effective communication strategy, which would ensure we were providing proactive levels of external communication to our stakeholders to maintain a level of business continuity. Internally, I made sure the Hope Capital team always knew my ‘virtual door’ was always open, to ensure everyone felt confident they could contact me whenever they had any work or personal related matters. We also organised weekly virtual social events, which enabled us to keep in touch, without conversations solely focusing on work.
- Transparency is key. Transparency, consistency and integrity with brokers and borrowers has always been essential in the lending market. At Hope Capital one of our core values is that we are honest, transparent and empowered to do the right thing. However, this has been more important than ever, especially with the amount of uncertainty during the beginning of pandemic and now, with the property market currently soaring and the level of demand for specialist finance being extremely high.
- Monitor the industry. Listening to brokers and borrowers on the type of bridging finance products and general criteria they would like to see in the market has been something we have really focused on throughout the pandemic. Over the last few months, we have made it our priority to listen to feedback from our brokers and borrowers, ensuring the latest products we have launched are delivering competitive options, to keep the industry moving in the right direction.
- Listen to your team. As mentioned, teamwork has been essential throughout the pandemic, however, productive teamwork can only happen when everyone feels and knows they have a voice. Ultimately, a person who feels valued will work harder and be more motivated, which is why bringing together the best from everyone is crucial to a successful workplace and business.
- Remain resilient. The pandemic created a source of unexpected stress for everyone. Nevertheless, the ability to be resilient leads to a number of benefits. Overcoming the shock of Covid-19 and working hard to quickly devise new ways to operate was essential in ensuring Hope Capital would bounce back and continue to grow as a business.
- Take a positive outlook. The need for positivity has become even more important over the last year. While there is no shame in admitting there have been difficulties at times, the ability to remain optimistic and make a conscious effort to stay positive does wonders for everyone around you.
- Constant self-development is key. The requirements of the business on each individual changed significantly over the course of the lockdown periods when everyone had to work at home. However, huge credit is owed to each member of the Hope Capital team who adapted and remained open minded to the changing circumstances.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. If someone told me at the beginning of 2020 that the whole country (and most of the world) would go into a sudden lockdown, what almost felt like overnight, I would never have believed them. No one could have predicted this crisis or imagined the scale it would take. However, if recent events have taught me anything, it is we can never over-prepare. Taking steps in the business to ensure continuity, such as ensuring everyone can work at home if they are required to, is a great example of something every business leader should prioritise.
- Think long term. Finally, the ability to foster long term thinking is an invaluable skill. Post-lockdown and with the country opening up back to normal, the market is only going to develop further, which is why thinking about and planning Hope Capital’s future goals and aims are crucial to ensure we move in the right direction.
What will post-pandemic lives look like? That is the million-dollar question. However, I feel very positive that it will not be long until we can get back out into the world and resume our lives. After all, this too shall pass!