It was just four or five weeks ago and yet it feels a bit like a lifetime ago, time ticks by and yet it is as if the clock has stopped.
The final weekend I spent together with my partner, as the lockdown was looming, we both dissected the changes we faced, the effects these changes would have and how as a businessman and entrepreneur Andrew could create something positive to meet the needs of business owners in the challenging times that had so quickly descended upon us. Andrew saw that he needed to create a port, a place of safety to shelter from the storm for business owners who would be caught out amid bleak, fierce weather.
A word became part of all our conversations, isolation, isolate to stay well, to keep other people well. There in was the priority, but the impact of this would be an end to networking, connecting, meetings, and so Andrew knew he needed to create a way for people to meet and to do business. Spurring into action, with his hard work, tenacity, and creativity the virtual business hub was birthed quickly and efficiently and named The Cobra Club.
I have had the pleasure of being part of this new business hub from its very conception, to me, it hangs in some invisible world, in the ether, but strangely in my mind it is as real as the bricks and mortar of any business centre.
We have a reception which I man as often as possible to support Andrew, I have only worked for the NHS, charities and education and been a busy practitioner so this receptionist role, of a virtual business hub, has been a very different experience for me. I love it!
When I am on duty, I have a reason to do my hair, paint my nails and I get to interact with our eclectic, wonderful members. I imagine my reception as an inviting place, warm and friendly, welcoming any who visits us at The Cobra Club and so that is what I hope to present.
Members have quickly joined and I have watched from their first tentative visits, getting to grips with the technical side and then with the conceptual side of a business hub that contains a reception, a members lounge, rooms for 1:2:1 meetings and rooms for small groups. It has been a joy to meet new people personally, people I would never have met and those whom I have heard Andrew talk about from his business life.
I have watched as people have connected, chatted, deepened those connections and who now are offering advice, support, referrals, and friendship to each other. Watching such positive moments has lifted my spirits in these times where the news bombards us with doom.
Everyone is different at The Cobra Club, male, female, mixed age and such a variety of businesses. One thing is consistent we are in the same storm together we are just all in different boats, some of us are sitting on luxury liners, some of us are in a rowboat, we experience the same storm but from various different perspectives.
The Cobra Club is a port that takes any boat and offers help and support and welcomes the expertise of anyone who chooses to join. I imagine my business, The Way to Well-being is a brightly painted barge with lots of flowers and a couple of bikes balanced on the side. I am docked safely in The Cobra club “port” sheltered from the storm. Every bit of valuable advice I hear from another member becomes another brightly coloured flower adorning my barge! I know when the storm calms my boat will be sailing back out fully equipped and looking good thanks to the time I spend in The Cobra Club.
You can take a look at my business to find out more at https://www.thewaytowellbeing.org/
Yesterday was a great example of what The Cobra club offers, as I sat in the reception with Andrew tucked up in a room working and having meetings, I had another club member the brilliant Neil from Aston Leigh bringing clients in for meetings, I was able to welcome his clients and “pop” them in Neil’s meeting room.
I also had a collection of members chatting whilst they dipped in and out of their own online work, they would offer each other business tips and ideas, but also chat about interests and hobbies, we talked about holiday ideas and parenting tips there is genuine care for each other, a desire to see each other succeed in business and flourish personally.
Where else could you be talking about finance whilst a delightful toddler sits on her Dad’s knee and we all watch longingly as someone munches on a cream cake and then everyone shares ideas of how to get cakes delivered. Where can you learn about SSL certificates and savings and investments whilst also picking on tips to get a good rise out of your dough!
The absolute beauty of The Cobra club to me is the sublime balance of professional business and supportive friendship, I think this could only have come about as we connected in these strange times in a safe space whilst the storm rages around us.
I believe this unique network; with the strong and secure foundations we have built now will continue long after the virus has been vanquished. So I write this reflection with heartfelt thanks to Andrew for exploring the concept and building The Cobra Club, as only he could with his creative and technical flair and with thanks to each and every member as it is you who make the place so brilliant. The building, the rooms are only figments of my imagination but the people, the relationships, the knowledge, those connections are so very real and so unbelievably valuable.
Why not sail your own boat into our port, follow the light to the safety of The Cobra Club, all are welcome here.