A busy first year

The first year of Blue Ninja Business Support went by with a flash. May opportunities came from referrals we got from previous contacts via Louisa. Soon after we had celebrated our 1st anniversary, we were running an international member meeting in Lisbon, Portugal with people joining both virtually and physically. It was an intense few days setting up the event, arranging travel, agendas, documentation, recordings and making sure the event went smoothly and we did manage to leave the hotel for a couple of hours on the Saturday night. It was a successful event and achieved the goal of getting funding for our client – this was a great start to 2020!

2020 global pandemic

We had a couple of trips out of the country but then Covid-19 came along with its uncertainty.

That is something we could never have planned for and like many other businesses large and small we were affected. This is when we had to pivot and change how we worked. Very quickly we had to turn around a 2-day physical event for a client into a virtual event. It was a lot of work to get all the systems we were given in place to work together seamlessly to make the virtual event run. It was an intense couple of days but successful for the client.

Supporting others

Luckily before lockdown happened, we had already been working with some other business owners in Leiden, where both the ninjas live, to support small businesses. The Small Business Connections Leiden group was formed; this is run primarily on Facebook, but we have been able to hold a couple of face-to-face meetings when restrictions have allowed. Since forming this group in March, we now have over 100 members and are growing steadily.

We also began supporting a UK based social enterprise Inspire Alpine as Automation Wizards. We love helping people and this feels good to give back, we are sharing information both ways with new tools to try so we are getting to learn new things as well.

 

Developing ourselves

At the beginning of the year we took the opportunity to network weekly at our registered office in the Business Centre at the World Trade Centre (WTC) The Hague. This resulted in a chance meeting and the subsequent partnership with our business coach. This is a great initiative paid for by the Dutch government and an opportunity we jumped at. Coaching has helped us so much to focus our offering and expand our horizons.

We have taken the downtime since April to work on ourselves with assistance on our branding and marketing. We were lucky enough to have an intern work for us during the summer months. Input of this type has helped us test out the understanding of our offering and business proposition and we think has made things much clearer.

Our vision remains to be one of the leading companies in International process and procedure management with our mission to be beneficial to key business partners in a broad range of sectors and companies. Those underlying principles have been with us since we started and drive us forward as a business.

 

What are we doing differently?

Apart from not working physically in the same location, we now work more collaboratively on Microsoft Teams. This works well along with other tools we have put in place to work more efficiently. We have also been networking online, had a few online interviews, presented at events and collaborated with various contacts in the form of guest bloggers and Facebook lives. We now vlog regularly – once you start there’s no going back!

 

What has changed about Blue Ninja Business Support?

Blue Ninja started out in January 2018 as ‘Your Process Warriors’, specialising in streamlining and optimising processes and procedures. We realised from working with both our business coach and a local group of marketeers ‘Team Horizon’ that we needed to hone our message to make it easier to understand. ‘Every Business Needs a Ninja’ developed and we now have a wide and varied skill set of business operations; this is now distilled into our 4 ninjas and are in the process of launching our fifth ninja – Ninja Me.

 

What is the plan for 2021?

So, no party in 2020 but there will still be cake and celebrations (socially distanced of course) that we’ve made it through in one piece.

Our focus doesn’t change despite the ebb and flow of the pandemic. We will continue to provide excellent service and support to our current clients – that has always been and continues to be our priority. It’s just the way we do it is slightly different, the benefits of online networking, coaching and collaborating means there is no barriers to our reach except significant time differences.

We will continue to grow our team of ninjas and really focus on the value add of our services. This past year has helped us to articulate our message and we’ll continue to demonstrate our excellence as a business.

We are developing and growing as a partnership and discovering our strengths and weaknesses and what do and don’t like doing. Outsourcing some of these tasks also frees up our time.

Apart from developing our ninja offerings, including Start-Up Ninja which is currently in development for 2021, we hope to start a podcast and continue share our skills and knowledge to a wider audience.

We’re still taking time to have a work-life balance whether that’s training at the gym, virtual choir or continuing to improve our Dutch language skills.

We look forward to what 2021 can challenge us with and we’re building a strong foundation to continue improving, learning and ultimately making our clients lives easier.