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There’s nothing like a global pandemic to change life as we know it, eh? But while social distancing meant simply staying inside for many of us, small business owners were faced with a tremendous challenge: how to continue “business as usual” through highly unusual circumstances. 

We chatted to Lauren Dare, founder of Switcharoo, about how she launched a whole new business to not only survive, but thrive!

As a business owner, what was the biggest challenge COVID-19 threw your way?
The biggest challenge for our legal recruitment agency was that law firms put recruitment freezes in place (i.e. stopped hiring!). This brought our industry to a complete halt. We knew we needed to be agile and pivot in another direction, at least for the short term. When we put our minds to it, however, we realised we had an opportunity in front of us. COVID forced us to deeply consider our core business model, our core strengths and come up with a COVID-proof business. Switcharoo was born. Switcharoo provides tailored job seeker packs: a one day online course, an industry specific application cover letter, resume and interview preparation guide. The Switcharoo mission is to have job seekers be job ready in one day for $99.

What was your biggest learning through it all?
There is no room in our modern economy for one trick ponies. You have to be skilled and willing to adapt and serve diverse market segments.

What is one way your business got creative in order to survive (and hopefully thrive!) during COVID-19?
We focused on the genuine needs of Australians. With healthcare addressed by more skilled providers, we asked ourselves what else Aussie’s really needed? The answer was to provide the household basics. Meeting those basic needs can only be achieved through gainful employment. However, this is easier said than done for thousands of Australians who had their industry shut down overnight. Providing career switching products meant we could help the most impacted get a foothold into a booming industry. Switcharoo serves the needs of the individual, business and macro economy. 

How have the past few months changed your business strategy moving forward?
COVID has been a wake up call of sorts; years of success counts for nothing if you don’t have robust, diverse and agile service offering. Being robust means that we have carefully examined our overheads and while, like many businesses, our overheads reduced during lockdown, we have no intention of increasing them. We plan to work smarter and be more thrifty with where our corporate dollars are spent. We will be looking for “no lock-in” options in everything we do (e.g commercial leases). 

What does your new normal look like?
All our consultants and directors now work remotely. That won’t change anytime soon. Everyone has adapted and productivity hasn’t taken a long term hit. Flexibility about hours has, however. Our staff have reported a much greater ability to balance their work/home life without the time wasting activities of commuting, etc. Our businesses and families are thriving in our new normal.

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.