Bdaily Festive Focus 2020: Louise Doyle, Mesma founder, has "renewed hope" for 2021
As we near the end of this year’s Festive Focus series, Bdaily spoke to Louise Doyle, founder and director of Sunderland’s quality assurance software specialist, Mesma, about “renewed hope” in 2021, finding a work/life balance and remembering to shop local.
How has 2020 changed the way that you live, work and think?
“This year has been seismic for almost everyone. But the opportunity to have more time on my hands to think about our business and its future development as a result of less travel time has been advantageous.
“Extra time has enabled us to develop our software offering, secure two of our biggest ever contracts and grow our work with governing agencies as well as education providers.
“It’s also provided a chance to spend added time with my family, enjoy playing more sport and appreciate the region in which I live.”
What has been your single biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
“There have been many challenges this year, but like so many SMEs simply surviving has been the biggest one.
“Securing cash flow has been tough as certain parts of our work dried up overnight as lockdown took hold.
“But we have come through and fortified by significant NEL investment funding and government grants, we have re-engineered parts of the business and bolstered the Mesma product offering.
“However, I must say that the challenges we face as a business are nothing when compared to the tough time for the many education providers we work with.”
What has been the biggest unexpected positive to come out of this year?
“Unquestionably, working remotely has enabled me to meet and connect with more people in the last few months than I had before lockdown.
“This has been extremely positive; nurturing beneficial conversations and opening the door to possible partnerships with people who can help our business grow and develop.”
What does your ideal Christmas look like?
“That’s easy, and it may sound a little trite, but it’s to see the look of excitement on the faces of my kids as they celebrate the big day and enjoy opening their presents.
“Also, sharing the seasonal festivities with my mum and the in laws, all of whom have had a tough year, is on this year’s wish list. I’m also looking forward to some long walks in the Weardale hills.”
How do you think people and businesses can support each other during the 2020 festive season?
“After such a difficult and uncertain time for so many in the retail sector, it would be a wonderful Christmas present for our small and independent shop owners if customers returned to spend in their stores and support them into new year.
“Let’s also get out there and support our leisure and hospitality sector, which has been on its knees this year.
“2021 should offer renewed hope, so we can all help by spending in our local pubs and restaurants come the time when the restrictions are lifted.”
What does 2021 look like for you and your business?
“From a business perspective, 2021 is looking good. It will see our new insightQ2 software platform launched, providing even more flexibility and benefits to our customers, and a move into new markets such as employment support and youth services where our software can support and enrich the QA agenda.
“We also look forward to seeing our current client base grow, relocating to new offices, and welcoming new starters early in January.
“On a more personal level, I hope to spend less time on trains in 2021 and more on getting my work/life balance right.
“I’m also looking forward to tapping into my networks to help more of our young people in primary and further education discover the world around them and unlock the myriad opportunities available to them.”
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