In an attempt to write some positive posts on social media to start this new year I ended up reflecting on 2020 and realised many good things took place in the life of Aesthetic Response during this challenging year!

I am sitting at my desk in my home office just pondering creating some positive social media messages in the wake of last nights full lockdown announcement – mmm...

So 'here we go again' is a message that is popping up frequently, and yes it feels like Groundhog Day but sadly without a goal or date to fix on for when we may come out on the other side of this latest shutdown. Not a start that any business owner wants for 2021, unless maybe you own Amazon, Tesco's, Zoom... you get the picture. Some businesses are thriving in these conditions whilst many are struggling for survival, or worse, have already had to fold.

So back to the positive posts – what is there to say? Well in the pondering I ended up reflecting on the last year and I found a lot of things worth celebrating in the life of Aesthetic Response!

This time last year my business partner Jo and I were looking forwards to what was going to be our best year yet – no doubt about it - it was going to be great! We had come off the back of a very tough 2019 having lost our dear friend and business partner Ann to a sudden stroke in July. This was devastating and had a major impact across the whole AR family because a family is who we are! We also lost Jo's brother-in-law Steve, who was our systems developer – another deeply personal blow. So this time last year we were really ready for 2020 and all that it would bring, and again we have risen to the challenges. Maybe the muscle that we were forced to build in 2019 through adverse circumstances has helped us to navigate the huge challenges that Covid has brought because here we are still offering great service to our valued clients, with smiles on our faces, and stronger bonds amongst our AR family.

The big wins in 2020?

• We transitioned very smoothly to home working overnight – the team adapted really well and systems held out.
• Our team have developed new ways to share knowledge and to support each other enabling them to continue to deliver our award-winning service.
• Various team members have faced their own very serious personal challenges and disappointments during the Covid situation: we have had bereavements and loses, a cancelled wedding, a husband working abroad who couldn't get back for 6 months and home-schooling to name but a few. As a result of this team members have built deeper friendships as they have supported each other inside and outside of work.
• Our customer service standards have held at an exceptional level consistently – something I am very proud of. I don't know about you but over the last few months I have frequently been subjected to very lengthy call queues whenever I have tried to contact a service provider where the excuse has repeatedly been 'working from home' - personally I have come to the conclusion that some businesses are using this as an excuse to cover for very poor customer service.
• We have been able to bring forward plans for systems developments and are now ahead of schedule having transitioned smoothly to a great new server platform to support our database and purpose-built phone systems.
• Our three managers have been amazing in their commitment and ability to adapt to constant change – Kimberley, Emma and Michael have thrived on the challenges that 2020 presented each growing in their role and skill sets – they can be very proud of themselves.
• Just in-case you haven't seen any of our posts early December we have been short listed as a finalist for the Aesthetic Awards – as best support partner! This is a huge achievement and has been a real boost at the end of a challenging 2020. We are looking forward to the Awards and have our eyes set on winning!

So here I am– like most business owners a little battered, bruised and weary from 2020, but hopeful and positive about 2021. Are my expectations the same as they were in January 2020? No – I am just grateful AR is still here doing what we do well as we continue to help our clients navigate these challenging times. The goal of 2021 is to keep doing what we can to adapt in these uncertain times and to have realistic expectations for the business, to continue to ensure that our AR family all stay as safe and as positive as possible.

On a final note I believe that each and every one of us needs to find some joy, peace as we journey into 2021 - Happy New Year!

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