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The Massage Company’s lockdown leader during a crisis

The Massage Company’s lockdown leader during a crisis

Crises need a positive and proactive response. The work of Charlie Thompson, Founder & Managing Director of The Massage Company during 2020 has been recognised by the SME National Business Awards. Thompson was awarded the Lockdown Leader award for the support and guidance he provided to his team, franchisees and customers during the pandemic.

The first lockdown on 20th March 2020 shook a nation. An experience most of the world’s population had no living memory or experience of meant that Thompson had to rapidly design and implement procedures and processes to protect staff, customers and his business.

Thompson within 2hrs of the enforced lockdown had shared full video communication with all TMC staff. Within 24hrs, a communication strategy had been devised for The Massage Company’s thousands of members and a customer focused video sent out to all customers.

For reassurance during Lockdown, the team received weekly broadcast videos backed up with management contact. Live group calls with all team members kept his teams together during the periods of isolation and those who required specialist attention were given this.

Thompson organised three major “all centre” online events which became ever more important as forced closure lasted for 4 months, until re-opening on 30th July 2020.

Franchisees required reassurance, leadership and practical support each building 6 new business plans (one for each potential month of opening July to December).  These plans provided a reopening roadmap and proved sufficiently accurate to take forward to the major banks for CBIL and BBL loan applications.  

There were tougher assignments Thompson had to lead the business forward through: risk assessments; suppliers; landlords; cashflow… He allocated these tasks across the business and instigated a series of lockdown projects. Some suppliers were changed, a full reformulation of the aromatherapy oil range was completed and a procurement portal to reduce administration costs within his support team was added – to be used when Lockdown ended. His battle with landlords is still ongoing!

Franchisees and the senior management team were instrumental to Thompson during this period and this combined owner operated focus leaves TMC well prepared for opening in 2021.

Thompson’s goal for The Massage Company is to become a destination employer, and working within the rules of Furlough, he created new working groups to solve challenges in the business: better induction plans, increased 5* reviews (so critical for confidence post-Covid), new membership value propositions, and new internal Intranet allowing TMC to continue to invest time in online training.

2020 saw the country plunged into three nationwide closures. During weeks businesses were allowed to open, Thompson’s team have: delivered thousands of massages, increased membership sales conversion and dealt with the huge changes the pandemic has brought to businesses and peoples lives.

Thompson’s belief is there will be a “greater focus on personal wellbeing and our internal unrelenting focus to bring massage to the mainstream will result in positive changes to people’s health as well as expanding nationwide”.

The Massage Company: www.massagecompany.co.uk

The Massage Company Franchise: www.massagecompanyfranchise.co.uk

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