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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

A year in review



2022 - A year of contrasts and community outreach


This year has raced by. As I'm sure you will agree, it’s been a year of highs and lows in the UK.


It's hard to believe that it's already been 12 months since we all said goodbye to 2021. Time flies, especially when you're busy running a small business. As we come to the end of 2022, it's time for us small business owners to take a step back and review all that has happened over the past twelve months.


Covid restrictions were scrapped at the start of the year, unemployment dropped

to its lowest level for almost half a century, people slowly returned to the office but with a quarter now opting to be a hybrid worker, and a third of us holidayed abroad again. We celebrated too with Platinum Jubilee celebrations and when the England women’s football team were crowned champions of Europe in July we bathed in a 3-month heat wave.


Permacrisis


But let’s remember Permacrisis', was coined by Collins Word of the Year 2022 meaning 'an extended period of instability and insecurity'. World events took a depressing turn in February after Russia invaded Ukraine. The impact of the war was far and wide as it triggered price increases in oil, food, and energy. The cost of living has impacted us all with inflation reaching 11.1% in October 2022, a 41-year high. And as a nation, we mourned when our Queen died in September. Finally, with 2 changes of prime minister in 2022, it really was a new permacrisis.


In person events, Metaverse & deepfakes


On the marketing front, we saw a return to in-person events, workshops and trade shows and it felt great to be back. The metaverse arrived with a bang, bringing us a new virtual world allowing shoppers to interact, live, shop, and learn together 24/7. In social media, the deepfake video or image emerged causing further concerns for consumers to trust brands.


PR and community reactivation


For Sharp Thinking, this year has been about consolidation, PR, and community engagement


There have been many highlights which include:


1. Being a finalist in three major business awards


This year Sharp Thinking was shortlisted as a finalist at two national awards. This included The National Business Awards where I got to meet Caprice Bourrett and the National Business Women’s Awards. Earlier in the year, Sharp Thinking also was a finalist at The Times of Tunbridge Wells Business Awards.



2. Helping to raise over £12,000 for six charities this year


In Spring, I raised £1,500 for Cancer Research UK when I took part in my second triathlon with three gruelling months of training and subsequent injuries but it was absolutely worth it when I look at the amount raised. Continuing on my mission to work with other organisations where I could help make a difference, I worked with St James School PTA throughout the year to help them achieve their fundraising goals. I want to thank every individual and business that has supported us. It’s been a tough year for many businesses and every bit of support means a lot.




3. Community reactivation


I don’t often talk about the volunteering that Sharp Thinking has been involved with but it’s a crucial part of what I believe in and find highly rewarding. I’ve worked with The Kent Foundation for a number of years and this year I’ve taken on a new mentor. The Kent Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports young entrepreneurs through business mentoring.


Sharp Thinking has sponsored a series of community events in Tunbridge Wells that I felt passionately about and with the return of events after a three year absence due to the pandemic, organisations have needed support more than ever with fundraising and generating sponsorship so Sharp Thinking has used its skills and connections to assist where it can.



4. The start of our net zero journey


Sharp Thinking has taken initial steps on the path to becoming net zero. The Met Office has already predicted that 2023 is set to be the hottest year ever and that the global average temperature will be 1.2C above what they were before humans impacted climate change. The sustainability course I attended this year led by Small Business Britain deeply moved me and made me want to do more. Sharp Thinking is on a mission to do what it can to become sustainable and spread the world. It also has created its first sustainability policy.




5. Stop press: plus a rebrand, 3 marketing strategies and 5 marketing plans!


Sharp Thinking can't end this blog without mentioning some of the wonderful and rewarding projects it has worked on this year. This includes our third rebranding project, but this time for a 50-year-old family manufacturing business. In addition Sharp Thinking has delivered 3 marketing strategies for new clients in the creative, manufacturing and professional services sectors as well as 5 marketing plans, a staff recruitment campaign and customer research for client.


People news


Lastly, Sharp Thinking is saying farewell to one of its most valued colleagues, Steve Hollidge who has worked with the business for two and half years and supported some 10 clients throughout the pandemic and beyond with B2B strategy and brand positioning. He will be greatly missed and the door is always open. We wish him every success in his new corporate role.



Happy holidays


What a wonderful year it has been for Sharp Thinking. I can’t wait for next year and in January Sharp Thinking is celebrating 5 years in business!


Happy holidays and have a relaxing, peaceful, safe and prosperous new year.



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