COVID-19: A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO, GARETH RICHARDS

Given the uncertainty COVID-19 is bringing to everyday life around the world I wanted to take a moment to explain what we’re doing at Help with my visa! to address this.

But first, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to all those working tirelessly on the frontlines and behind the scenes to combat this disease. 

They do amazing work in normal times, but what our doctors, nurses, emergency service workers and scientists  – as well as those keeping the world turning staffing supermarket checkouts, driving public transport and keeping the lights on – are working through right now is absolutely beyond what anyone could’ve believed was possible just a few weeks ago. 

You’re heroes, every one of you.

What we’re going through at Help with my visa! pales in comparison but there are people with questions as to what we’re doing during this COVID-19 outbreak. So here it is.

Direct Marketing Campaigns

Before the UK (where we’re based) started to go into serious lockdown earlier in the week, we’d ran several rounds of direct marketing campaigns inviting immigration advisers to join our marketplace to grow their business. These communications left the building last week so will be landing on doorsteps and in mail rooms now. 

While the campaign material was the kind of thing you’d expect from a business trying to grow, I recognise that the timing of the communication may seem somewhat ‘tone-deaf’ given our current lockdown situation. I want to assure anyone receiving these communications that this was absolutely not our intent, the situation with COVID-19 is evolving day-by-day and this time last week I still believed it was right to send these communications. However, we’re now pausing such outreach campaigns until there’s a more positive sign that we’re over the worst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Mailing List Campaigns

We joined a growth accelerator just last week and our first activity is to grow our mailing list. This means reaching out to our contacts to ask if they’d like to join. 

I can see that being asked to join a mailing list for a company that helps people get visas to travel may seem strange given the global travel bans now in place, but there are two reasons why we’re still doing this.

Firstly, more than half of our potential customer base is applying to renew residency permits – that is, to remain in the country. There’s no travel involved in their application so we can still help these people.

Secondly, COVID-19 will pass at some point and travel restrictions will be lifted. I therefore want the company to be able to hit the ground running at an appropriate time when we turn on marketing to people looking for help preparing visa applications to go abroad.

The messages we send out will make reference to this, but I wanted to make it clear that we have a strategy behind this outreach campaign that is designed to minimise the potential for confusion about why we’re still contacting people.

Meetings

I’d reached out to several people over the past few weeks to setup meetings about how we could collaborate. With the ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ protocols now in place, these meetings will be replaced by phone calls and video calls as well as making greater use of email and messaging apps.

Working from Home

I started a work from home policy for Help with my visa! several weeks ago and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 

As I’m now not the only person ‘working from home’, it’s a little more boisterous in the home office than usual, so I do apologise in advance for any background noise on calls or any delay in getting back to you. 

Keeping two young children entertained and out of mischief while concentrating on Help with my visa! activities is a tough act to maintain!

Final Thoughts

Once again, a sincerely thank you to everyone working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy during these extremely challenging times. We’ll do whatever small bit we can to contribute, and I’ll update you again if anything else changes.

Keep safe.

Gareth Richards

CEO, Help with my visa!

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