Has your ideal customer changed during the covid-19 pandemic?

It’s hard to see if there’s a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic, but look closely the pandemic changed the structure of everything we experience from how we shop and socialize to how we work. How might your ideal client avatars be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic?  Avatars or your ideal customer or clients are the type of customers you want to attract to our businesses.

Now’s the time to take stock and ask yourself which changes are likely to stick? 

This will fundamentally change how we engage with and create value for customers. 

We’ve noticed through our Thrive meetings that post-pandemic services like solicitors and accountants say that their customers are more empathetic — but also more demanding.

A Forbes report states that

68% of customer service managers have seen an increase in customer expectations since February 2020

74% of customer service leaders say customers have become “more empathetic” since the crisis

71% experienced an increase in overall contact volume since February 2020 and expect it to increase further

What about the way we communicate, has this changed?

All types of customer communications technology and new ways for customers to connect from mobile app, online support portal and text messaging.

Coronavirus has impacted all of our businesses – both business and consumer-facing – but it’s also impacted the lives and outlooks of your avatars or ideal (target) clients and customers.

Always stay aware

Some industries are suffering, and there are industries that are thriving. For us to stay in business, always re-evaluate and re-prioritize our target audience, think long-term.

Take the time to fully understand and re-examine your ideal client/avatar, has it changed since this time last year?  This may even require rebuilding the ideal customer profile and pivot.

You might have had a clear picture of your ideal customer in the past, but many brands are finding that things have changed. For example, businesses are finding new buyers for their products and services. Consider all the people who now use Zoom that didn’t even know it existed 12 months ago.

Example 1: the working parent

If your ideal client/customer is a working parent, they may well still be juggling homeschooling or have other family commitments while also working from home. They’ve got less time than ever – and maybe a shorter fuse than ever.

Example 2: the self-isolating grandparent

If this is your target customer, they’ve had their whole world change dramatically within the past few months and therefore your marketing strategies will need to adjust to reflect this.

Example 3: clients with reduced budgets

If your clients have suffered reduced cash flow and greater business uncertainty, they’re less likely to want to take-up or continue a contract with you.  If you are still actively marketing to those accounts that have been negatively impacted, is it better if you divert away from them for a while?

Example 4: your clients are rushed off their feet

If you’re a professional services firm, some of your ideal clients will fall into the category above, but others will never have been busier than during the coronavirus crisis. Health & Safety advisers and PPE suppliers have barely had a day off since before lockdown began.

Since things have changed, we need to readjust the knowledge we have about the target or ideal customer, ensuring that our marketing strategies reach our potential audiences and remain relevant to them.

If the previous ideal client is still relevant and is there a way you can still sell your services to them… great but what is it that we will need to adapt it to reflect their changing experiences and expectations?

If you are still actively marketing to those accounts that have been negatively impacted, perhaps it is better if you divert away from them for a while

The question for us in business should be ‘How can we create new opportunities in the current climate?’ Many brands have pivoted successfully in just a short period. Whether you pursue a different business model or re-examine your ideal customer/client, your business will need to shift its marketing message to take advantage of the moment.

Taking time to develop a real understanding of your ideal customer/clients is vital for any marketing strategy and where they were a year ago, where they are now, will they be different in 12 months’ time?  These are the questions that will deliver real ROI for your business.

Since things have changed since March 2020, so we decided this morning at Thrive.Buzz there is a need to readjust the knowledge we have about our target and ideal customer, ensuring that our marketing strategies reach our potential audiences and remain relevant to them.

Lorna Burroughes



Thrive – A community supporting innovation

As a long-term member of Thrive, I have drawn many benefits from being a part of its community. From the outset, it has been continually evolving and innovating to serve its members. Not only that, the community is great at supporting innovation amongst its members. This isn’t just a place for “business as usual”.

At the beginning of 2021 I launched my first business book entitled “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster”. It is very fair to say that this book wouldn’t exist without the Thrive community. One aspect of membership is the opportunity to present to other members on an aspect of your business or other relevant topic. My book grew out of an experimental idea presented at a Thrive meeting.

When given the opportunity to do their “spotlight” members know that we want something interesting, educational and thought-provoking. It isn’t a spot to sell to one another. So, I became used to it being a way to test ideas and bring aspects of the business or the industry to the members for input and discussion. For me, a Thrive meeting is a safe place to test out fresh ideas and get intelligent feedback. For previous “spotlights” I had helped members explore the role of images in helping to sell products, places and spaces. My day job is working as a product photographer and architectural photographer.  So, I had taken the opportunity to have discussions about how images tell stories, communicate rapidly and build a strong brand. These talks became blog posts as I developed the ideas further.

Then, on one occasion I felt that I wanted to test out an idea that had been floating around my mind for some time. It wasn’t anything particularly to do with my business, but it was very much business related. I was convinced that chess makes a useful analogy to help us understand aspects of how to do business, especially when it comes to formulating a strategy. It was one of those ideas that I found it hard to anticipate how others would react. But, in the safety of the Thrive community, I decided to test the waters and see what members thought.

To my surprise, there was great interest in this chess-business analogy. Several members thought this was worth developing further and were keen to test it out in a wider setting. So, following on from the presentation to my usual group, I developed a series of discussion starters for our Thrive connect sessions (led together with John Burroughes) when the wider community comes together. These discussions again went well and were received favourably. They weren’t reluctant to embrace something new, rather the community gave its support to this innovative project.

Yes, chess has been used as a metaphor for aspects of business before, but never in such depth and detail as the study I went on to develop into the book “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster”. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of by business peers, I doubt I would have gone into as much depth as I did. I certainly wouldn’t have had sufficient material to create a book. But, the Thrive involvement didn’t stop there.

A talented copywriter, Jonathan Broom, helped iron out some typos and other members offered valuable feedback after reading through a draft edition before publication. Colin McLean from Presentation Works helped me to investigate possibilities such as an audio book or a podcast (which I hope to explore further in the future). Designers chipped in with comments about the initial cover designs that I created in CGI, which helped ensure a much more successful front cover image that I really feel does justice to the content as well as looking like a “proper” book cover! Others have continued to enquire and offer supportive advice along the way as the book was brought to completion. Fellow members were also among the first to purchase copies, too.

So, whilst it is my book with my name on the cover, there are many in the Thrive community whose support helped me get it over the finish line. I am grateful to them for being open to exploring new ideas, for their honest feedback and their ongoing friendship.

I believe that if you are looking for a community that is supporting innovation and not afraid to test out new ideas, you should take a look at Thrive. You never know what you might come up with or help your peers to discover!

Joe Lenton

Joe is a multiple international-award-winning photographer based in Norfolk working with clients locally, nationally and internationally. He is also on the cutting edge of modern advertising photography combining digital photography with CGI. “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster” is available as a paperback from Amazon and also as a Kindle/E-Book. Find out more about the book at http://businessgrandmaster.com/

thrive support

Thrive tips for managing the challenges of COVID-19

This year has been tough for many small business owners – we’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions due to the level of new challenges we face, not only have we had to deal with the normal challenges of running a business, but we’ve also had to tackle the hardships that have come with COVID-19.

Research shows that it seems that many small business owners suffer from stress, but few take steps to manage it, and that increased stress can lead to reduced productivity.

Recently our speaker at Thrive Connect was Regina Savory, she explained the 5 stages of grief and loss being denial/anger/bargaining/depression/acceptance and how the pandemic has affected us all and how these stages are not linear or sequential.  Thank you for your practical wellbeing tips and your undoubted expertise.

  • Trust in the people around you.
  • Keep firm boundaries between your working life and your home life – working from home makes this particularly difficult because there is no physical space and time gap between the office and the home.
  • Being able to mentally unwind and stay physically sound is important.
  • Keep a fitness routine – for both physical and mental health – find ways to get some physical activity in and take up quiet, mindful activities like reading.
  • Most importantly, keep talking to people.

One of the things that we’ve found as an online business community that has been most appreciated during these months of COVID-19 is actually connecting people to each other so that we can share ideas and experience.

Lorna Burroughes




Thrive – together we mean business

With further announcements today from the Government around businesses, networking and events – look no further than here, we are delighted to advise you that Thrive Connect has evolved again, we are all very much not just in an onwards state of mind but we want to help us take on an upwards one as well, we can do this because as we all know we have an abundance of skill and experience within our great Thrive family.

Since lockdown, our Thrive Connect MasterMind group has been sharing our insights into the current business and economic climate, we’ve discussed the challenges and barriers we’ve initially faced, with this knowledge we think that this has helped us to make better decisions for our businesses, it’s helped us to put support mechanisms and systems in place that will ultimately impact us and our business.

Join us for great conversation, and virtual networking! Remember when we did that in rooms? We’re still doing it, but virtually! Book your place to find out more.  Thrive Connect as usual will be held on ‘Chatham House’ rules, Zoom has been the next best thing for us being there in the networking room because it’s allowed us to deliver a complete communication and support channel. In these times, everything is online, creating valuable connections and networking is more meaningful than ever and these kinds of events help to stay connected and socialise.

Thrive – together we mean business

Lorna Burroughes

September 2020



Top tips to networking online

Since March of 2020 Thrive networking has moved online and for some, that’s great news, others just don’t like it. Video is the next best thing for us being there in the networking room because it allowed us to deliver a complete communication and support channel.  We think that you need to work extra hard to make sure you’re interacting in a way that allows you to build genuine, meaningful relationships.

People still want to work with those they know, like and trust, so when building professional relationships with people online, consider these three qualities: transparency, likability and credibility. Transparency lets people get to know you, while likability reflects their interest in you and credibility builds trust.

Our Thrive ‘Top Tips’ to networking online

  1. Make time to stay connected. 
  2. Acknowledge that nothing is “business as usual” we all live in a different world to pre-COVID times and this might mean changing what you were doing before.
  3. Turn on the camera, if you don’t like looking at yourself on screen minimise the screen and look at the speaker.
  4. Be aware of body language and social clues, make sure your background and you project the business-like image you’d want others to see. 
  5. Find proactive and genuine ways to offer support
  6. Recognise the opportunities to make real-world connections with your online world.

At Thrive we like to take a bit of time to encourage personal connections by starting meetings with people talking about what’s been happening in their lives, both professionally and personally, it’s conversations like this that help build empathy, which then paves the way for trust.

Networking online gives us an opportunity to connect globally with others who share our interests and passions, and make the most of this time as you can greatly expand your network through online communities.


Thrive Zoom meeting

Thrive Connect Summary – Thursday 11th June 2020

We continued to look at discussing and concluding some answers to some big questions. So here is what we felt the current consensus is:

When or if there will be a vaccine?

There was more focus on the immediate outcomes from the release of lockdown. There were a lot of comments on the public’s confidence in going out and spending. This was decided as the most significant point we need to track together as we go forward.

The general consensus on vaccines and treatments had not altered with the body assuming they are someway off.

What type of recession will it be?

There was still a consensus on the extended TICK type recession. There was a forming consensus that there could be a very much two-tier type recovery based on certain sectors. So some will flourish and others will suffer or even fail!

It was put forward by a number that it seems the Government’s pending policy of how they will continue to intervene in the economy is another critical point we need to track together.  This is likely to now become clearer over the next 2 months.

Being ahead with this type of information as a group will give us a significant advantage.

What’s the next big thing (s)?

We now have a fruity list of 8. A new addition being a rise in ‘staycations’, something that interested a number of us given we are all currently reviewing our IDEAL customer/client target for post Covid planning.

We want to continue looking at these together and over the next few weeks, honing them a bit more.

How are we planning to Thrive in the future?

Lorna led us this week giving us a useful insight into how she was currently planning for trading Post COVID.  She was investigating technological options to continue and improve virtual meetings and how to build relationships. Also listening carefully to her existing members and the wider market to understand what they want and need.

This sparked everybody else to share their insights, which was very useful to us all. So we know continuing it yet gain will be very valuable.

What will be the sustainable behavioural changes post COVID?

We actually left this to do via a survey, but that failed to happen. So we will revisit it again this week

We have picked 6 key behaviours we can track together each week. Something that yet again is very valuable to our planning for trading effectively post COVID.

  • More acceptance of Virtual Working
  • More acceptance of Virtual meeting
  • Less travelling both locally and abroad
  • Less consumer spending
  • More online shopping
  • Continued kindness and coming together as a society


Lorna Burroughes


Survive and thrive together

W: Thrive or check out our Thrive Calendar

T: 01603 672712 M: 07760 792791

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Thrive, virtual meetings

Thrive meetings on Zoom – how businesses are meeting in virtual groups to support each other through Coronavirus

When Norfolk went into lockdown every business owner felt the impact

And for Lorna Burroughes, founder of the Norwich-based Thrive, networking group, it meant switching almost overnight to online video meetings instead of the traditional face-to-face sessions that the group’s 70 odd members were used to.

Instead of attending weekly gatherings at the usual Norwich locations such as the Earlham Institute or the Narthex, Lorna and Thrive members (full disclosure – I’m one of them) were logging on to switch to virtual meetings via Zoom (pretty much like most of the business world it seemed).

But after a couple of weeks, Lorna says the new format is finding its feet – and has even seen some inquiries from new members wishing to join, opting for the convenience of logging in from the comfort of their own home.

Thrive has five groups which meet fortnightly and a weekly Zoom ‘Connect’ session open to all.

What’s been interesting is that the sessions are far less about asking what you do and exchanging business contact details and more about being a place where members can share expertise or even talk about issues which are affecting them and their business right now.
“It’s been really nice and we felt we can offer that support,” Lorna says. “It’s been lovely to see how much people have appreciated it.”

Adapting to Covid-19

For Lorna, it was important that Thrive, like all businesses, had to adapt to life under the extraordinary new world of Covid-19.
“We have just had to stop what we were doing and change,” Lorna says. “It’s been a really big learning curve. We all need to talk to each other and as businesses, we have got to feel part of something. Now we have got to build that trust up.”

Lorna set up Thrive with the ethos of helping businesses build ‘trusted’ relationships both for generating leads and referrals, with a focus on ‘network marketing’ and providing a supportive environment where likeminded people could come together.

That last bit is something which has come very much to the fore in the current climate both for Lorna and the rest of the Thrive team – husband John and colleague Kay.
All agreed that the important thing was to provide a space where members could share both their concerns, but also their ideas for dealing with the crisis.

And in fact the crisis has accelerated a journey the business had already embarked on towards focusing on relationship building, mentoring and even e-learning aimed at helping members identify both their ideal clients as well as opportunities to grow both as an individual and a business.

“We realised that we just had to do it,” adds Lorna. “With all our members, the chances are if you don’t know the answer, we know somebody that does.
“People are really struggling mentally. We all need each other and need somebody to talk to. There are different ways we can support each other.
“If we can help people survive this and come through at the other end, that’s what I’m about. We will come out of this and every day brings that a little bit closer.”

Lorna and Kay at a traditional Thrive meeting. Groups now meet onlinve via Zoom

Lorna’s tips for working from home

Lorna is no stranger to home working – something she had first started doing in the late 1990s when her children were small. But as many of us get to grips with the new ‘office’ environment here are her top tips for making the most of it.

1. Make sure you have got a routine 
2. Get up and get dressed as if you are at work
3. Don’t try and do everything, but break it down into chunks 
4. Remember to have breaks!


Written by Content Connective

Shaun Lowthorpe

Telephone: O7708855486

Building business relationship with Thrive

What is the difference between networking and relationship-building?

We’ve sparked a bit of conversation about the difference between networking and relationship-building, we think that it’s huge… but to us what is interesting that some people don’t know or see the difference.


Build a trusted business community

Building relationships is the most important aspect of building a business

Any relationship in life is important, relationships are just as important in business as in your personal life.  By nature we are naturally social creatures, we want friendships and good constructive interactions, just as we want food and water. So it makes sense that the better our working relationships are, the happier and more productive we’re going to be.  

At Thrive we feel that you need to regularly meet and communicate with your trusted community, these are the like-minded people who can give you the push you need to meet and surpass your business goals, it’s with these positive relationships we can focus on opportunities.  Positivity is attractive and contagious, and it helps strengthens our relationships, who wants to be around someone negative?

Trust – within the Thrive Community it’s vital to know, like and trust but also understand the people you are meeting with, this makes it much easier to approach them, no matter the issue or reason.  If you trust these people you can be open and honest in your thoughts and actions.

Mutual Respect – This has to work both ways when you respect the people who you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours.  Honesty is the best policy when building any relationship.

Creating strong business connections can be easier said than done if you don’t cultivate and nurture the relationship. At Thrive we have our 5 steps approach to building relationships.  True connections must be built, and these connections are created through shared experiences. 

5 levels to Thrive trusted relationships
5 levels to the Thrive trusted community

Relationship building from a business position can help you in many many ways;

  • Sharing information what’s new in the marketplace or what’s happening in your local area
  • Sharing of information and advice
  • Sharing leads
  • Investing and instigating new breaks
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Uncovering new opportunities
  • Finding potential new collaborative partners, coworkers, and employees to grow your business
  • Relationships create new relationships and business relationships can turn into good friendships
  • Manage your reputation
  • Avoids isolation
  • Stimulates your mind
  • Add value to your offer
  • Helps you retain current customers
  • Feel like you are part of something genuine
  • Grow your brand – be seen
  • Receive coaching and mentoring
  • Build your own trusted community 

Be willing to reciprocate. Remember that there’s give and a take in all relationships. If you aren’t willing to be there for someone who has been (or even who would be) there for you, that person will be less likely to help you out if you need it.

It’s not all about the benefits. Don’t get so focused on the end goal that you forget that it’s possible you won’t benefit from the relationship.

Finally, be genuine, treat others as you’d want to be treated, and welcome conversations, feedback and new ideas. You’ll make new friends and maybe even get new customers in the process!

We believe at Thrive that building relationships is the most important aspect of building a business.

Lorna Burroughes – together we mean business



Thrive group event

Continuing professional development and thrive

Thrive and CPD (continuing professional development). 

This is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive.

CPD is ongoing work-related learning, which enables staff to keep their technical skills, business skills, and industry knowledge up to date. The process is driven by the employee rather than the employer and involves:

  • Assessing learning needs
  • Carrying out a range of CPD activities
  • Reflecting on and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience gained

Anyone who is a member of a professional body is likely to have CPD requirements laid out for them by the body, rather than by their employer.

Anyone who works within a sector that is formally regulated (e.g. by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or Financial Conduct Authority), is likely to be required to track and progress their CPD in order to maintain their license to practice or professional qualifications.

This is our understanding of some examples of CPD activities you can undertake with Thrive and examples of the types of evidence you could keep (for example in your portfolio).

CPD activity; Group meetings outside of everyday practice (e.g. to discuss a specific event or new way of working) 

Suggested evidence to retain; Evidence of participation and role including signed letters, notes, observations and outcomes. 

You will need to provide your CPD record showing: 

  1. your learning and development needs 
  2. the activities you have undertaken 
  3. whether the activity was structured or unstructured 
  4. the time you have recorded against each activity 
  5. a reflection of the outcomes achieved against each activity.

Thrive – together we mean business


If you’d like to visit one of our groups please get in touch with us on 01603 672712 or enquiries@thrive.buzz