James Burke founded ActionCOACH Salford with the vision of helping one million people by 2030. He had no idea that a virus outbreak would be what accelerated him closer to that goal and neither did those businesses who had invested in his business coaching services.

One hundred per cent of James’ business coaching clients works have been affected by COVID-19, but they’ve all been making positive changes to not only survive the crisis but in many cases thrive. James’ strong focus on mindset has brought about some really interesting adaptions by his business owner clients and from those he has gifted coaching sessions to since the lockdown.

Mark James who owns Right at Home, a homecare company covering South Liverpool has seen a 30 per cent increase in business since lockdown. Whereas they normally provide care for private clients in their own homes, they’ve increased their hours of delivery significantly to support the NHS discharging patients from hospital back to their homes. This means they’ve had to increase the number of Care Givers they employ and have found furloughed workers have chosen to apply from a wide variety of backgrounds you wouldn’t expect – from solicitors to cleaning businesses. They’ve also brought forward the launch of a new service where clients can check in from home to speak to an advisor, ideal for those who need support but are not in need of home visits just yet.

“James has been super – with his focus and calm nature he encouraged me to adapt the business quickly. Because the business growth accelerated so quickly, we worked on mindset to balance priorities,” said Mark.

Helena Hoyle, Louie Buckley and Antonella Brollini are the three ladies behind clothing boutique Ruby & Daisy – they’re real women leading the way in fashion. Based in Rossendale near Burnley, the boutique has become a destination for women from as far afield as the USA. The online sales for the business had been catching up with in-store sales over the last 18 months but when the shop had to close due to COVID-19, the ladies wanted to engage in a compassionate way with their thousands of loyal customers. Their fans always enjoy their live video presentations of new clothes, so they replaced these with videos asking how people were doing in lockdown, checking in rather than selling to them. The response was phenomenal – sales were actually driven by market demand rather than advertising campaigns and promotions. The ladies were so touched, they decided to offer a discount for NHS workers and then extended this to all key workers until the end of lockdown. The result – the best online trading weeks ever, an increase of over 500%.

“James always talks about having an abundant attitude, so when we could see lockdown was going to have an enormous impact on many of the local businesses around us, we decided to use our huge social media following to give other businesses a boost too,” explained Helena.

In Salford, the virus drove the decision on which way to take product development for business owner Fiona Drummond. She founded Yellow Pup, a Curcumin supplement company, after her search for a good quality supply of Curcumin to help her husband’s symptoms related to a heart condition, meant she had to set up her own business to ensure a high-quality product was available. She was planning to extend her supplement range with a product specific for either those going through the menopause or those looking for a boost to their immune system. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, she realised the Turmeric Curcumin Immune Plus product would bring the most benefit to her customers. Its proven anti-inflammatory qualities for the joints combined with zinc and vitamins C and D won’t stop you getting the virus but will give a welcome boost to your immune system whilst keeping you in the best condition for continuing your daily exercise. Her new product is expected to launch in a matter of days.

For those businesses who had little choice but to furlough staff, they’ve been making a positive impact on their communities with Neil Richards from Huge Media Advertising in Liverpool taking one of his digital display vehicles around hospitals to share messages of love and support from friends and families of NHS workers.

Since the pandemic hit, James has been gifting five hours of coaching a week and, in total, he has gifted 30 coaching sessions plus another 30 hours of free advice via webinars and Vlogs. He and his team have worked with 50-plus business owners, including solopreneurs to large employers, ranging from charities to financial planners, fitness studios to family lawyers. He will continue to gift those sessions as local businesses emerge from lockdown.