These past 4 weeks have flown by.  Ana and Paul have been heavily involved in Eastbourne’s crisis response (#rallyroundeastbourne) and now in planning its future. We’ve still had to do the day job (as a #propertymatchmaker) and, while in a Cobra Committee some 10 days ago listening to heartwarming stories of community responses, hit upon the idea of capturing and sharing the experiences of local businesses in a time of crisis.

Having been ‘Breakfast Chair’ of Eastbourne’s Chamber of Commerce, Ana was well placed to approach the business community.  She was delighted with their willingness to get involved even though a live online interview is outside the comfort zone of many. And so a series of 6 “Chats with a local business” began last Monday. Here’s a snapshot of #1-3 (with a link to the 15 minute interview):


Co founder of one of Eastbourne’s most highly rated restaurants Vicky knows a thing or two about managing business in challenging times. A Greek national who helped their tourist industry recover from a previous crisis, Vicky has also held a senior role in a global US based travel organisation. In her interview she traces Gr/eat’s journey from preparing for lockdown to a foray to a takeaway service and on to today. Her motto:

Be prepared. It’s something that has worked well for us in the past and has in this crisis. We started planning for this weeks before lockdown happened and we are now preparing for when its over.

Don’t be afraid. To change course if you believe its the right thing to do!

The Dental Barn

Alison is a persuasive optimist.  She opened her all female dental practice during a previous downturn so has ‘previous’ when it comes to coping in a crisis. She admits to shedding a few tears when hearing about the suspension of trading and bemoans the lack of action in setting up emergency hubs to treat really sick patients. Having demonstrated amazing resilience she dispenses sound advice:

Get everything you can. Look carefully at your outgoings, seek deferrals of payments. I rang my bank immediately to ask for a 3 month payment holiday on my business loan, they gave me 6!

Communication. With clients and the team; let people know they are important to you and the business.

MW Solicitors

Anne-Marie is someone who doesn’t see clients as a file or number. She believes being a successful conveyancer requires a lot of hand holding.  Her firm took steps a few months back to equip the team to work from home and had a plan in place when lockdown came so that they could continue to advise clients. Her ‘sticky moments’ story in helping to repatriate a client is a true illustration of going the extra mile. She picked out:

Counselling. Let clients know what’s going on especially when sensational media headlines are scary for people unfamiliar with property transactions. And give them guidance!

Well being. Provide support for your team. We have a WhatsApp group that allows us to keep in regular contact throughout the day.

Keep a look out on Thursday for a summary of the remaining 3 interviews.