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My COVID-19 Business Journey

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

People are What Matter Most.

We decided to give Zoom a try for two reasons. First, we determined our phone system only allows nine participants on a conference call at one time. The second is that human interaction is becoming more and more important due to isolation. To bring the human aspect back to our lives we asked all employees to participate by downloading Zoom Cloud Meeting app on their cell phones for an upcoming conference call. Yes, it takes a little getting used to and it was clunky at first, but we tested this option with the management team first, and it was a lot fun.

“Human interaction is becoming more and more important due to isolation. ”

I sent the following instructions, and with that Zoom became our human interaction conduit employees desired.

So here is how it will work:

  • Download Zoom Cloud Meeting app today on your cell phone.

  • Make sure your phone is charged for the meeting and maybe keep it plugged in during the meeting as it can be a drain on the battery.

  • We are going to do a test run tomorrow at 11 am for those that need to put on makeup, do your hair or maybe get out of your pajamas (you know who you are).

  • You will receive a Meeting ID from me tomorrow around 10:30 am. 5 minutes until 11 am you will click on the app on your phone and enter the Meeting ID.

  • For those non-millennials check out this You Tube video in preparation of the call. This is also useful for members of management that want to setup their calls in the future in this manner. By the way it is free.

Little did the employees know that I was missing them terribly too, so much so that I decided to document this journey on the walls of my office. Remember the game, guess whose office? Well adjacent is what I got to walk into every morning. It was like they were all there with me.

On this same day I was called upon to write an article for the Geraci’s Originate Report that has an audience associated with the lending industry. This was the article.

“There is one word to describe my team and that is RESILIENCE.

We are headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada and as our management staff monitored the situation closely as it became apparent to us on Monday, March 16th that we needed to start implementing our Contingency Plan. This planning could not have started a minute too soon because within 48 hours the entire city of Las Vegas was a ghost town. Our Governor addressed the residents of Nevada at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 17th and at 8 am Wednesday morning I rallied my management staff and then the employees at 9 am with a social distancing meeting in our training room to inform the staff that it was time to fully test our Contingency Plan, so let’s put it into action. A communication was sent to all investors and posted on our website that Ignite Funding will maintain “business as usual” in a virtual environment from our homes. By noon, the office was cleared out except for two members of management and we were enacting our virtual office environment. By 8 pm we confirmed that all employee was virtually ready for the next day.

The first day was rough with the technology, but we quickly fixed every issue promptly as to not allow our employees, investors, or borrowers to build up frustration as the country was acclimating to their new temporary environment. As the leader of the company, I knew that it was my job to maintain the strong company cultural that I have cultivated for a decade. My employees expect change and even embrace improvements in technology and adjustments to our portfolio to meet market demands while mitigating the risk to our investors through diversification. We clearly now fully embracing the technology that allows us to work securely from our homes without clients experience any change in the level of customer service or the availability of investments.

Every day I mass communicate with all employees in a fun interactive way. Our culture is work hard, play harder. Here are some examples of the activities that have transpired in the first nine days of our virtual office experience; day one started with a Magnolia Manifesto quote that ended with #itslonelywithoutemployees, day two was guess who’s virtual office this is and we also had a baby join our family on that day, day three we hit an all-time record funding week of over $22 million, day four was selfie count on your phone to guess who had the most, day five was from the Hump Day challenge questions (Ignite Funding style) and boy did we learn a lot of hidden secrets about employees, day six was a virtual COVID-19 themed dance off with a $100 prize, day seven it was time to discover the creature comforters of the office we missed most (come to find out the employees missed the employees most), day eight Carrie gathered the list of creature comforts to prepare for dissemination to employees homes to make the next 30 days a little easier (they do not know this is coming yet), day nine we implemented Zoom to try and meet the creature comforter request through video conferencing, which was hilarious and thank goodness for our millennial staff who teach us new things every day.

I know you were probably expecting something very serious, but during these times we need to remember that the comradery of employees is what matters most. As the President, I am proud to tell everyone that I have become the virtual assistant to all my employees while they stay safely planted at home during this time.”

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