INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
How COVID Killed Our Biggest Competitor
We talked to Chris Wigglesworth on how Coursecheck is the feedback tool for anyone running training courses and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chris Wigglesworth: Thanks for asking. Physically we’re all fine, and no one has been sick. Mentally it’s been tough, but we know it’s been a lot tougher for others, so we can’t complain, and the family dog has loved it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Coursecheck?
Chris Wigglesworth: Coursecheck is my second business, having previously built up an IT service company that I sold in 2012. I think the idea for Coursecheck had been swirling around in my head for a while, but it was a newspaper article I happened to read that convinced me I was on to something. My background is in Engineering, and although I love what we do at Coursecheck, occasionally, I miss the thrill of working on a big construction project where you can physically touch what you’ve helped build.
How does Coursecheck innovate?
Chris Wigglesworth: I wouldn’t say we are great innovators, but we’re outstanding at proactively listening to our customers. Often what they say they want isn’t what they need, but we know how to read between the lines and develop software that meets and exceeds their expectations.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Chris Wigglesworth: We’re fortunate that remote working has been part of the company culture from day one. We all miss meeting up once a week, and it’s just not the same on Zoom. From a customer perspective, COVID has not affected the service we provide for our customers. But our customers have all been affected to a greater or lesser extent, and so there’s a knock-on effect on us too. I’m pleased to say we’ve seen a substantial recovery in September / October and our revenues are now 30% bigger than they were pre-COVID.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Chris Wigglesworth: We did all the obvious things and cut costs where we could. Fortunately, we were using a lot of outsourced services, so it was relatively easy to do this. It wasn’t a lesson learned, but it did underline the importance of reacting quickly to change, and I’d say that’s essential for any small business. It’s a significant advantage that small businesses have over larger ones where change is more challenging to implement. The lesson I did learn was the importance of picking up the phone to our customers, being a listening ear, and making sure we were doing whatever we could to support them, even if there wasn’t much we could do.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Chris Wigglesworth: We all deal with stress and anxiety in different ways. For me, it’s about being outside and getting plenty of exercises. We’re fortunate to have some land, and I find driving a tractor is very therapeutic. As a manager, it’s essential to realize that our staff may also suffer from stress and anxiety, even if they don’t show it. And I found that talking about my anxieties helped others feel that it was ok to be anxious, which may have helped in a small way.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chris Wigglesworth: Coursecheck is a digital system used by training companies to collect feedback from the people they train. Pre-COVID, our biggest competitor, was paper feedback forms, which were used by the majority of training providers. But now that almost all training is delivered online, the paper is no longer an option, and our biggest competitor has been knocked out. But we’re not complacent, and our strategy for staying in the game is to remain very focused on our goals, execute them well, and not get tempted to diversify.
Your final thoughts?
Chris Wigglesworth:2020 is a year that most people would be glad to put behind them. But I think it’s made us more conscious of the things that really matter in life and so perhaps some good can come of it. I know many people have discovered new ways of living that they’re planning to maintain regardless of any vaccines’ success. And speaking personally, I’ve had more contact with close friends than in normal times; and I’d say that those friendships are now more profound than ever.
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