james russell photo




It feels like the world is about to do a reset.  A re-boot.  Like many over the last few weeks, I’ve been attending webinars on the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on everything from people to ways of working and data security.  I haven’t heard quite as much said about the ‘customer’ though, and this is where I believe we should start.  Being relevant in the ’new normal’ is not about waiting for old demand to start again, it’s about tuning in to new demand.

I used to work at a large corporate insurance company.  I know what it is like to get caught in the bubble of ‘Insurance’ and how things have always been done.  However we are now seeing some of the short-falls with pure insurance products as many businesses clamour for the support their policy doesn’t provide as they fight to  survive the current crisis.  I’m now part of a start-up called Brisk, with a mission to protect businesses and their people beyond the pure insurance policy.  Some refer to Brisk as being in ‘insurance’ or ‘insurtech’.  Actually, we don’t particularly identify with either of these labels.  We exist to help small and medium sized businesses run their business and keep it safe and resilient.  Most customers aren’t thinking about ‘insurance’ or ‘product x’ – they are thinking about their health and survival.  And this is where I believe the ‘re-boot’ needs to start.

While the large incumbents manage the monumental task of working out how they get back to normal (and what that new normal will look like), there is a real risk that they become less relevant.  The world has changed and could look different for a long time to come.  As businesses, we all need to re-evaluate what the customer really needs.  For a start-up, we are arguably better placed to react and shift direction.  We are used to working in uncertain or changing environments. For many of us, it’s what motivated us to start and it’s fuelled our growth as we plugged a gap.  Has the COVID-19 crisis impacted us?  Of course.  Some of our deals and projects have been deferred.  So we have had to adapt and shift our focus.  Actually, it’s given us a chance to re-imagine what a must-have support solution for small businesses might look like.  What is core and essential for these businesses to survive and sustain their business?

So we aren’t waiting until our product is ‘back in demand’.  We are working with some forward thinking corporate partners who recognise the need to find ways to be relevant as we enter the new ’normal’.  If we’ve been reminded of anything in the last few weeks, it’s the power of people and communities to rise to a challenge and provide support in many selfless ways.  Sure, some will exploit the crisis for their own gain, but I prefer to work towards a new normal where startups, big corporates, the new and the established pool their resources to find new ways to emerge and be relevant to the customers they serve.

If you would like to share an article or any advice to be included, please send it to [email protected]