How do you prosper during COVID-19? 
You need to sift out the
gold!
Seeking strength through adversity, and adapting to change, Craig finds a way to prosper – and discovers a brand new passion along the way.words & ocean photos by Craig FallshawIn what was to become an Australian literary classic, A.B. Facey wrote that his was indeed a fortunate life. Strength through adversity was the message, although I don’t know if we can compare our current struggles with those that faced the Western Australia farm worker and soldier all those years ago.

Still, it has been a very challenging few months as we see the lives that we have come to lead and enjoy in modern Australia irrevocably changed by the invisible assassin that is COVID-19.
Coming on the back of the bushfires and the floods, COVID-19 is impacting all of us – as individuals and communities – in unprecedented ways.

Apart from the physical requirements of social distancing, I for one have also suffered from varying amounts of COVID-19 anxiety – brought on no doubt by uncertainty. When will my daughter be able to go back to school? Will my business survive? What is happening with the economy? Is my income secure?
Waves of uncertaintyIn the end I had to stop watching the news as it was overwhelming and bleak. I decided that not having an update on the amount of COVID-19 cases every hour on the hour was a good thing.

The changes we have had to make to our daily routines have in some cases been inconvenient. In other cases, life shattering.

Who would have thought 12 months ago that ‘social distancing’ would have been a term we would use daily. Or that ‘Zoom’ would be anything other than a verb meaning to move or travel very quickly.

And yet here we are – flattening the curve and moving through it, something no one could have foreseen or even imagined as we went about our lives in modern Australia, taking for granted the ability to go out for dinner with friends or down the pub for a beer.
ChangesWe have lost some great businesses where I live and I will always treasure the times I have spent with my friends at the local watering hole over a plate of tapas or something or other and a bottle of pinot grigio or a beer. Alas, like most businesses, they need income to survive and they have now closed down.

This brings me neatly to my next point. In my business we employ around 35 people, some full time, some casual. The wages bill is over $200,000 a month. Thankfully we are still very busy – two shifts, six days, and there is always lots do. It seems everybody wants their vitamin products for immunity or general health. I hope that continues to be the case.

Paying the wages bill, along with all the other overheads, requires sales or income; something that I fear is not understood by all. There is no magical pot of money that a business can pay its wages bill from. It needs sales to survive.
AdaptingAs I look around me I see some of our customers and contemporaries have been cutting back staff to four days or reducing hours, which would be a direct result of a sales decrease. Here’s a prime example: one of my clients services gyms as their biggest market. Gyms were closed down due to COVID-19. So, what did they do? They adapted. Sure, they reduced their workforce as required, but they also started pushing online sales and chasing sales from markets other than their traditional sales channels.In our business, we changed shifting arrangements so we could better adhere to social distancing requirements. We split break times to avoid having all the crew in the lunchroom at one time. And we’ve moved all meetings with clients on line – which isn’t as effective or fun, but, for now, safer.

So, the key here, in this wondrous COVID-19 world we find ourselves in, is to adapt – adapt and prosper.
Connecting to our passionsAnyone who knows me, knows that my great passion in life, apart from my family, is photography. For a while, photography was off the cards, due to the lockdown laws. Leaving the house was only for the ‘essential purposes’ on the list.

Losing the ability to get out, once a week, by myself or with my group of photography buddies and do a sunrise shoot took away my one big pressure releasing activity. So after a few weekends of not taking any pictures, I came up with a solution: we are allowed to still swim in the ocean up here on the far Northern Beaches – so I adapted. I bought an underwater case for my camera and started shooting photos of waves, from inside them – and I am pretty sure I have found my new love. The shapes made by the waves are truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Pure gold!
THE AUTHOR CRAIG FALLSHAW TAKING OCEAN PHOTOSFor me, the big advantages of the whole COVID-19 have been: first, getting to spend more time with my daughter, which has been fantastic – she doesn’t need to rush and beat the traffic to get to school on time so comes walking on the beach with me every morning. And secondly, discovering the world of underwater photography. Also I think I have lost weight (due to not eating out as much or travelling for work).
So, despite the adversity, sift out the dross and there will be some gold nuggets left in your pan.
Craig Fallshaw, founder of Complementar y Medicines Group, comes from a long line of Australian natural products manufacturers. His industry career, spanning more than 25 years, began in the family business, a contract manufacturer founded by his grandfather in 1972. Craig, from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is a keen photographer and loves employing his drone to photograph otherwise inaccessible places.Email Craig at craig@cmgrouponline.com.au.
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