Welcome to our series of looking at the day to day impact the Coronavirus is having on a selection of businesses within the CCR through the different perspectives of both a newly appointed graduate and their respective managers.
Our next feature covers MagManager – A CRM/Publishing systems provider based in Monmouth that offers flat planning software solutions to help people working in the independent magazine market to lay out their publications and manage their businesses.
They are one of many small companies in the CCR who are doing their very best to maintain business as usual in these unprecedented times.
We spoke to Mandy Mardell – Director and founder about the challenges the Coronavirus “lockdown” is presenting to MagManager:
Mandy told us;
“We support over 600 UK publishing titles all of whom have been affected to varying degrees by Covid-19. Issues that affect our clients invariable impact us and these issues range from the need to re-plan content plans to align more closely with the current issues through, through to falling advertising revenue for some clients putting pressure on their ability to keep trading and then of course as a consequence some of our clients are struggling to keep up with their software subscriptions putting pressure on our cash flows.”
Like many other businesses MagManager have been assisted in their efforts to stay trading by the Local Authority grant payments. Mandy told us;
“The cash was a lifeline. We applied to Monmouth County Council for it and within a week the money was in our bank account. Easy, quick process that has made a significant difference to us.”
From a client interaction perspective, MagManager stays in touch via Skype and Ring Central VoIP.
“We find this works really well for us. It was one of our primary client communications channel before Covid-19 so in that respect, its business as usual. What’s less business as usual is what we talk about and the increase in group participation. We are increasingly finding ourselves hosting sessions of up to 50 publishers who are using these opportunities for a combination of networking, discussing topics for magazine coverage or just participating in general Q+A around everything from finance to distribution. From our perspective, were delighted we can facilitate this coming together of organisations that all face the same issues and play a part in helping to come up with solutions.”
Megan Gray Client Relationship Manager and CCR graduate who started back in October 2019 added;
“It’s got a lot busier since the Coronavirus hit us. We are now having to do much more work for our clients and we understand many of their businesses are now suffering so we try to go above and beyond for them now just to make things that little bit easier.”
From a team perspective all are now working from home. Technology wise that’s not a problem MagManager use Cloud SAS based services so can access anything from anywhere. Mandy added;
“We do miss the day to day interactions, we compensate as best we can with daily 121’s to ensure everyone understands what to do and how to do it and just generally to check in with each other and see how were all feeling. This just happens naturally when you’re sat next to each all day and it is harder over the phone, but it’s so essential for morale and engagement so we all commit to it and put effort into staying in touch.”
“MagManager have been really accommodating. As soon as the working from home measures were introduced they delivered a laptop and screen to my home address.”
“As a client relationship manager I spend a lot of time on the phone so I actually find working from home easy. We have Skype meetings every morning which sets out the plan for my day and they trust in me to get on with things then which is great despite being relatively new to the company. The biggest struggle I sometimes have with the home working is knowing when to stop! There’s that temptation to keep on going but if you do, it can be a very long working day. So I have to force myself to detach sometimes but the management are brilliant at reinforcing this as well. I do miss the office environment though as I think it’s a much bigger support network when you are all together. So I am very much looking forward to the time when we can all be together again.”
Finally with regard career ambitions for the future and whether the current situation had changed any of her thinking Meg told us;
“I love the publishing business and the writing side of the job in particular is something I am passionate about. I enjoy creating content and then putting that out there for others to read. I also like the fact there’s arrange of things to get involved in with this job. I’m currently doing some video content for the website which I find fun, I’ll also be doing content in the next few days so there’s plenty of variation and you never get bore!
On the CCR Graduate Scheme Meg said
“I think the scheme is excellent and I would advocate it to anyone. I feel really fortunate to have been accepted onto it.”
“Both our graduate appointments Meg and Amber have been fabulous. They have taken the adjustments within their stride and are doing a great job of keeping things going. I am proud of the way they have adapted to the new routines and ways of working. They add real value to our business and have proved to be great appointments”.
If you are evaluating your capacity and need any further resource to manage at this time, the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme may be able to help. The Scheme can provide a free and streamlined recruitment service that can match your immediate resourcing needs to high-skilled graduate talent in the region.
If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch with either email@example.com or Geraldine.OSullivan@cardiff.gov.uk.