Is it too premature to party?

19 February 2021   |   by Jamie Willsdon   |   
The ‘full lockdown’ appears to be ending according to recent media announcements. Is the ‘new normal’ positive for our country for business owners like myself, or is this too premature?

Yes, I have been stressed and worried. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t been concerned about the virus, its effects on my staff, friends, family, peers and what damage it will do to my business.

The past twelve months have felt like I’m driving my company blindfolded, with my hands off the wheel. Being out of control has been a very alien and unnerving period for me personally, which I’m sure is echoed by other company owners alike.

I keep telling myself ‘keep positive, Jamie. It’ll all be okay’, but even this becomes exhausting after such a long period of uncertainty.

Rishi Sunak outlines his priority as economy suffers deepest annual slump since 1709 Great Frost

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of me owning a business, and after experiencing the 2008 recession, the above headline is an unsettling read. As the 2008 recession struck (following the US sub-prime mortgage crisis crash), my previous business was in a strong position, and I was confident we would buckle-up and simply ride out of the storm.

Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, it would take 21 quarters (or 5 years / 63 months), for the economy to recover to the pre-crash state. Those months for any business owner were a very difficult time.

Sadly, for our business that employed many staff was sucked into the crisis and three years later ‘Lehman Brothers Bank’ closed its doors. We had taken too many hits from our customers businesses collapsing, whilst owing substantial sums for services rendered.

We were wounded, this time beyond a point of recovery, and we had to call in the liquidators on our 12 year old business. It was really a horrific time to be a business owner, a situation that I never wish to experience again (particularly when it’s no fault of your own). The day I called in all my staff to my office to inform them of the closure is not an experience I wish to repeat.

Nevertheless, humans are a resilient bunch. Since then, our economy has been rebuilt with our banks holding far more reserves to prevent a repeat of the banking crash.

As midnight struck on New Years Eve of 2019, I remember saying ‘Welcome 2020...this will be our year’. Little did I know.

And here we are almost fifteen months later and as the Covid storm begins to ease, what are businesses like mine going to witness from the aftershock? Maybe the tsunami is soon to hit, but we can’t be sure. Did the government implemented schemes such as the Furlough, business grants and bounce-back loans provide the breakers to stop the waves from crashing into already wounded businesses, washing away further livelihoods and employment?

Let’s hope not, our population has already suffered enough.

I keep telling myself ‘keep positive, It’ll all be okay’, but even this becomes exhausting after such a long period of uncertainty.

Jamie Willsdon

The biggest question on every business owners mind is simple; Will my business survive?.

If your business is one of the more fortunate ones that hasn’t suffered through the full disruption of Covid, and you’ve done incredibly well to continue on, then we can only hope the coming months will be as kind as possible to you.

One thing to keep in our minds is as we return from lockdown there will be as much opportunity as there is concern. Keeping positive and using the experience of 2020 may just assist to ignite your business in a more efficient and positive way.

What can we do to help and prevent further pain?

My instructions to my finance team will be to make sure we pay any outstanding creditors invoices as quickly as possible. Deal with any queries immediately. Don’t make our loyal suppliers have to wait.

We also hope this becomes an industry standard with every business using the same culture and attitude. Shop local, spend what you can. Let’s all do our bit to reignite our economy.

The minute we emerge from lockdown our country will be riding on happy, feel good and positive vibes. Let’s work together to stop the ripples of last year’s disruption to not wash away any further businesses or employment opportunities.

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