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Reflecting on 2020, Running a Start-up Business Through a Global Pandemic & The Best Worst Year Ever?

“Never waste a good crisis”– Winston Churchill

As a global community, 2020 has truly left its mark on all of us. Many of us have lost people close to us, seen a phenomenal amount of pain both mentally and physically, been restricted from doing the things we enjoy and being around those we care for, lost employment, lost optimism, lost hope and more.

Allow me to paint a picture of life at Mantell Associates. After being born in January 2019, our team of three walked into 2020 with huge optimism after a successful first year in business, with a new HQ, new structure, exciting new talent due to join the business and an extremely strong core.

Naturally, all the above took a large amount of financial risk and when we all received the news in March of COVID-19 and a global lockdown, my first thoughts were how we could possibly survive as a business.

‘Will the world adapt to video interviews and hiring?’

‘Will our clients stop recruitment completely?’

‘How will all of my team work from home?’

‘Have I invested too much too soon?’

‘What will we do about the large overheads if we are not even in the office?’

‘How long will this last, and can we plan for the future?’

‘Are my family, friends and team (also my friends) safe?

At the start, there seemed to be panic everywhere you looked. A world that was once so free did not know what to do any more. However, things then began to change – the dust settled and as a business we reminded ourselves that this is just another challenge, and challenges must be overcome if you wish to be successful as an organisation.

All around us businesses began to adapt, innovate, evolve, improve, streamline… and they have not stopped.

Many of the top business leaders I have spoken to, including those who joined me on the Mantell Associates Network podcast, are grateful for 2020, and I tend to agree. Sure, running a start-up through this has been hard but, nothing worth having comes easy.

Now, as our growing team of sixteen walk into 2021 with yet another new larger HQ, a record year (all hiring done remotely), the successful launch of our podcast with thousands of listeners, an entirely improved business operation, an ever-improving marketing presence and our first ever ‘Mantell Associates Newsletter’ going out to all our clients and candidates, it gives me a moment to think.

Looking back on the past year, here is what I have learned and I hope you can relate…

1. Breathe – work is important, but family and loved ones come first.

2. It is ok for things not to go to plan.

3. Without technology, almost none of our businesses or jobs would have survived 2020. If your business is not built around this, adapt now.

4. None of us are invincible, be kind to one another.

5. No challenge is too large, but together stronger.

6. Gratitude.

7. No matter what is going on around you, if you focus on the positives and remain mentally calm, you will prevail.

8. A company is just a group of people.

9. Health is wealth.

10. Wear a mask.

As we all walk away from 2020,‘the best worst year ever’, I know that I am not alone in the optimism across the globe for the year ahead.

I wish you all great health and good fortune in 2021.

Alessandro Mantell

CEO, Mantell Associates