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Correspondent&#39s week

The week in the run-up to the launch of any business was bound to be fraught. But the Bright Grey team, having been individually selected for its positive can-do attitude, was ready to take the challenge, whatever the week had in store. Or was it?

Launch minus seven days and we are almost there. The once frighteningly big number of tasks on the launch project plans are being ticked off fast. The day started as any other with a jumpstart.

No, not some ritual torture but a 15-minute session where every team talks about the day ahead and discusses one of the things we have identified as being important to the way we run our business. Today was a good day and I am feeling in control.

Launch minus five days – a mental note to myself never to say: “I am feeling in control” again. Suddenly, the number of tasks on the plan no longer appear manageable and I am having my first official panic attack.

We have forgotten the Red Bull. The essential ingredients for any launch, don&#39t you know? Along with a big bar of chocolate (comfort aid), a bright pink stress ball (stress aid) and a bright pink pencil (writing aid), the Red Bull (energy aid), these are the things that will make up the Bright Grey Day One Survival Pack.

In the grand scheme of launching a business, trivial you might think. Our people are vital to the success of our business. Look after them and they are much more willing and able to look after your customers.

Press release goes out, under embargo, and the journos start phoning. This is what it is all about.

Launch minus three days and the world is looking good.

Everything is in place for our launch on the Assure-web portal and the first of our mailings has gone out to Misys&#39 members.

Our well publicised desire to buck the trend in the protection market and give great service seems to be striking a chord.

Our phones are already ringing. IFAs are asking when they can start sending us their business and our customer care team is delighted to be talking to IFAs.

Great news but we do not want to compromise our service in the early days so need to manage the volume of business in the short term.

Launch minus one day. Another mental note to myself: never say “the world is looking good”. I have my second official panic attack.

This time, it is entirely the fault of the rail union. It is striking and the senior Bright Grey team is hosting two tables at the Money Marketing dinner in London.

What is the problem, I hear you ask?

Well, we are sponsoring the award for Best Protection IFA, so the team definitely needs to be there but now, thanks to the rail union, we have no way of getting it back to Edinburgh in time for our 7.30am team breakfast.

The plan was that the team caught the sleeper straight after dinner (okay, so it was going to be touch and go whether they could drag themselves away from Bjorn Again and the bar) but we had hope. Fast thinking needed.

David Robinson (CEO) will stay behind so he can be here to cheer the team on and the others will catch the red eye in the morning (and, oh boy, was it well named!) and be with us by 8.30am.

Launch day has arrived and along with it a sea of pink and grey T-shirts, all individually designed and worn with pride. My own sparkly number was painstakingly done in the wee small hours with the help of my daughter (who, by the way, has made me promise to get her a job in Bright Grey when she is old enough).

Bacon rolls, survival packs and an overwhelming feeling of excitement are the order of the day. The calls start coming in and at last it is real.

Our customer care team is ready, our underwriters are desperate to start talking to IFAs about real cases (yes, they want to talk to IFAs), our actuaries are ready to have their competitive prices compared by the market and our products teams are excited about revealing our flexible and comprehensive range of cover.

It has all gone to plan.We are live and on our way to great things without too many hiccoughs.

Denise Ferguson is communications manager at Bright Grey


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