Tom initially approached X-Forces Enterprise through our Help for Heroes Business Experience programme. With an inspirational backstory and a determination to make his business succeed for the good of others, we helped Tom pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions and set up Thoughtify Ltd.
Thoughtify Ltd. provides mental health and wellbeing training to businesses, encouraging them to understand and safeguard employee mental health, and support those who may require additional help..
Last year, we ran a feature article on Tom and his business, spotlighting his enterprise journey thus far, including his successes and how X-Forces supported him. As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we decided to catch up with Tom again to see how he’s been getting on over the past year, and particularly over the past few weeks and months under the pressures of COVID-19.
Hi Tom, thanks for catching up with us again. How has your past 12 months been (pre-COVID!)?
“It’s been good, some of the clients we’ve been working with include Legal & General, Facebook – London, Amsterdam and New York, Sky, and Landmarc. We were grateful to win Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Award earlier in the year, as well as becoming a Finalist for this year’s Soldiering On Awards, which, as a small business is really encouraging. As a business owner you never quite know if you’re doing enough or putting across the right message, so being a finalist is a great morale boost!”
How have you been managing the COVID-19 situation at Thoughtify? Have you had to adapt and change how you are supporting businesses?
“It’s obviously a big change for all businesses. Being a small business, we’re able to pivot quickly, we’re not limited so much when having to change direction or come up with new ideas or workarounds. I can decide what we’re doing next week and we can move forward on that. Having a Forces background, where you’re used to plans changing weekly, daily, hourly even, it’s easier for some people in our community to be able to adapt and get on with it. It’s about being quite stoic to be honest!
“There can be a good side to anything if you are able to adapt to a bad situation; it’s about seeing how you can still deliver good content. We’ve just been authorised by Mental Health First Aid England to deliver two-day online mental health awareness courses, including for clients such as Sky and Facebook.”
What kinds of things have you been working on with business owners, particularly surrounding the new work-from-home landscape?
“We’ve actually been putting a course together for Facebook and Citrix around adaptation, expectation, resilience, change, and having more contact with employees – not just a quick call once a week – and asking people how they are. As managers and leaders, actually looking in and finding out how your employees are coping and how they’re really getting on with things at the moment is so important.
“I’ve also been working closely with Landmarc, building up an interactive, online group for its employees, talking about stress, kindness, gratitude, whilst also encouraging them to share photos of their pets, playing instruments, sharing recipes – just coming together to share things. It’s really positive, and we also talk about the clinical stuff too, as a guide. It’s working really well.”
It’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme of #KindnessMatters – are there any key things Thoughtify has been doing, or any messages you have been highlighting in support of this week?
“Our message is around random acts of kindness. Try and spread some positivity. People are using their phones and social media much more now we’re in lockdown. If someone you follow has posted something useful or you’ve enjoyed it, why not drop a like or a comment ? I’m sure they’d really appreciate knowing they’ve impacted someone’s day, and it may even start a better conversation. It’s about encouragement and being kind to people that way: let’s start spreading good news on social media rather than negativity!”
A former Rifleman, Tom served in the British Army for 12 years. After some difficult experiences in the Army and upon leaving, Tom was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, Tom encountered various difficulties in obtaining the correct diagnosis, thus receiving a lack of support when he needed it most. His experiences, however, encouraged him to set up Thoughtify Ltd to prevent others from facing a similar situation.
X-Forces Enterprise were able to support Tom in establishing Thoughtify Ltd. through enterprise training:
“The X-Forces Business course I attended was very useful, as it introduced me to elements of running a business that I wasn’t aware of and helped me to clarify others. This is a great course for anyone intending to start their own business.”
The XFE support extends well beyond the initial service, be that through our Enterprise Skills Workshops, Networking or Financial services: we offer an ongoing handrail of support through Mentoring, Networking and a range of other mechanisms to ensure you are making informed decisions about every step of your business journey.
‘’It is important that the good work, progress and success coming out of our armed forces community is shared far and wide. The media tends to focus mainly on issues and this is important but not at the expense of progress. It is critical in the world we live in today that society sees the amazing advancement that can, and is, being made by collaborating and providing opportunities through a constructive hands-up approach. Together with our beneficiaries and partners we can really make a difference to the distance travelled from reliance to resilience! Tom’s story demonstrates just that.’’
Ren Kapur MBE CEO X-Forces Enterprise and Co-Chair Soldiering on Awards.
To find out more about Thoughtify visit http://thoughtify.co.uk