New challenges, same kitchen table: becoming Business Development Manager during lockdown

business development manager ben andrews

Ben Andrews, Business Development Manager

Well, I think it’s fair to say that these last few months have been strange for all of us. I started lockdown all those months ago with the same worries as many of us. But, when you have loved ones in your life that rely on you, you don’t have time to sit and dwell.

From teacher…

When lockdown started, I quickly opened “The Andrews Academy for Amazing* Children” for my 10 year old son and 6 year old daughter. At the time I saw myself as the highly respected head teacher-type. It didn’t take long for me to realise I was actually the teacher, PE instructor, cook, cleaner, supervisor, caretaker, and student, owing to the fact that my son often had to explain his maths work to me! Our classroom was our kitchen and it became decorated with school art work and – more importantly – the school rules which seemed to need updating on a daily basis!

*Amazing – could easily have been: annoying, challenging, loud etc 

lockdown home-school boy homework

…to delivery driver…

In any spare time, I became a delivery driver. After our weekly food shop had been dropped at my door, we would use the kitchen table to repack it into different bags. I would then take to the road, visiting my mother and other relatives with milk, bread and, more importantly, (Yorkshire) teabags. When food wasn’t required, my wife stuck a trowel in my hand and sent me into the garden. Titchmarsh I am not, but dare I say I am pretty pleased with my sunflowers! I nurtured them from kitchen table – so the children could watch and water them daily – to garden.

It was at the kitchen table between lessons that I came across a role advertised for Business Development Manager at Family Fund Business Services (FFBS). Something immediately intrigued me and I found myself searching online for more information. The idea of working for a business that not only seemed innovative, but also genuinely stood out in the procurement market, doing things differently, immediately drew me in. Coupled with the fact that FFBS’ purpose is to try and help even more people in need by supporting its parent charity, and the range of sectors and customers they work with making for lots of variety in the role, I knew I had to apply.

Two weeks later I found myself sat again at my kitchen table on my first ever online, video job interview. While it was a strange experience in itself, I found being at home largely comforting and those normal interview nerves quickly subsided when I met Helen Bradley, our Head of Business Development. If it’s fair to judge an organisation on its people, then I can say I knew immediately after my interview that I wanted the role.

…to Business Development Manager

A few days later as I sat at my kitchen table between lessons, I received a phone call and with bated breath I was told the role was mine! In these strange times I was given a great reason to be excited about what the future may hold.

Working daily from the same table, I am now one month into my new role and I have learnt so much already from some incredibly friendly and genuinely welcoming colleagues. I have seen how hard they have had to work to rise to such a formidable challenge during lockdown. They have received an unprecedented increase in orders for essential services to support their customers’ beneficiaries, who sadly found themselves in even more hardship due to the pandemic. For example, between March and April FFBS saw a 95% increase in demand cash-out and energy vouchers. This is impressive alone, but pales in comparison to our 3855% increase in demand for food vouchers.

So soon into this role, I cannot pretend to have all of the answers. In fact, I’m not even sure I understand all of the questions. However, I do know a lot of great people that do, and who are more than happy to help.

If you think FFBS could help you and your organisation, get in touch! You know where I will be…. 

Read more blogs from from Ben here.

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