Guest Blog – How 5 things I discovered about my business in 2020 can help SMEs focus in 2021 by Helen Saxton at Teams Unpuzzled

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In the first in a series of guest blogs. Helen Saxton from Teams Unpuzzled a corporate event company based in Berkshire introduces things she has learned about her business in 2020 and how it could help other small business owners such as yourself…

Against all advice, I’m going to cram my first paragraph with lots of overused phrases from 2020; last year was unprecedented, a roller coaster, a huge learning curve, life changing and now we’ve settled on the new normal!

Not to mention ‘YOU’RE ON MUTE!’

In the past, people would often say to me that ‘Christmas must be your busiest time of the year’ when in truth it wasn’t. Yes, we ran some Christmas parties but overall, we were steadily delivering team building throughout the year.

December 2020 though, opened my eyes…

1: Colour coded spreadsheets are my friend

We took an unprecedented (sorry) number of bookings for December and the only way to keep on top of them was to create an elaborate and, if I do say so myself, quite impressive spreadsheet to check I hadn’t quadruple booked anyone.  If I didn’t have a system in place I would truly have thrown in the towel; it’s amazing what a good CRM system can do when you use it properly!

Top Tip: Back in 2016 when I first started out, I set up a CRM and accounting software and have religiously kept on top of them ever since even when in some months there was barely anything going on. In December that forward planning came into its own and smoothed the whole process.  Get those tools, systems and processes in order for 2021, especially if you’re now quiet and have the time to do it properly.

2: My team of actors are AMAZING

What started off with ‘can you keep the 11th and 18th free as they’re looking pretty busy’ turned to ‘if I give you a 5-minute break to go to the loo in between can you fit in 5 events today, and oh, can you host the first three as I’m triple booked’.  Not one of my team batted an eyelid; they are truly the most talented, dependable, supportive bunch of people I could hope to work with, and I am immensely grateful to them all.

Top Tip: Even if you are a sole trader like me, you will no doubt rely on a support network of some description.  Don’t forget how valuable they are and, more importantly, let them know.

3: I don’t like Microsoft Teams (but I love Zoom)

So much so that I named our new cat after it.  (Zoom, that is, not Teams).  Sorry Microsoft but having become ‘ultra-slick’ (actual testimonial from a client, honest) on Zoom and whipping between clues, suspect videos, websites and back again to sort larger teams into smaller groups to encourage more intense collaboration and investigation, Teams just doesn’t cut it. 

Top Tip: I’m all for trying something new and being flexible to fit in with clients’ needs but please, if you’re asked to use or do something which doesn’t work and makes you look bad, have the confidence to say no. 

To try Zoom click here

4: You can pretty much create anything fake on the internet

When your clues are all online, they have to look realistic, aesthetically pleasing and fun.  So far, I’ve created fake:

  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter accounts
  • Facebook profiles
  • Text messages
  • Newspaper articles
  • Birth certificates
  • DBS checks

At the risk of sounding as though I’m doing something illegal (I’m not) I really rather enjoy creating these little snippets of info which make all the difference; the devil is in the detail.

Top Tip: be creative and pay attention to the small stuff even if you’re under immense pressure; it really does get noticed.

5: Human interaction is essential

I’d like to say that the sudden surge of enquiries and bookings was entirely down to my splendid marketing, top notch products and recommendations from previous clients.  To a certain extent, yes.  But really, what this all brought home to me is that people were still desperate to get together at Christmas time and will continue to feel that need well into this year.  They are happy to accept that although it’s never quite the same as a good old office party, a virtual event is better than no event at all.

Top Tip: Don’t feel guilty if you make money during a lockdown.  This is not profiteering; it’s offering a genuine product which benefits both you and your clients.  Lastly, this doesn’t really need saying but keep up the interaction with other humans, we’re all going to need it even more in 2021.  Good luck!

To learn more about Teams Unpuzzled and their online team building sessions go to

For more small business advise click here