Our Non Executive Alan Crockert on the impact to Business owners

Well...where do we go from here?

Arguably most of us have been affected negatively in some way, shape or form over the past few weeks, and if business has been good, or even better than normal for you, then this might not apply, and may the good times continue.

I was severely impacted by the economic crash of 2008, and without being dramatic, it was life changing for me, and given some of the conversations I've had over the last few weeks, it would appear the same might happen for a few of you. But what to make of so many differing takes on not just what may lie ahead, but what do we do now to mitigate any losses?

Here are a few of the messages/opinions/must do's I have noticed/heard in the past 5 weeks;

"My business sector is decimated through no fault of mine, I've accepted that mentally, and strangely I feel more relaxed than I have done in years. Do I want to go back to that place of stress and worry?"

"My business has fallen off the edge of a cliff due to the Virus, and I now know that when things return to normal, I'm making significant changes to ensure my potential liabilities are reduced, and the way we work will change also. More homeworkers equals less expensive office space."

"If you don't adapt your business model and offerings, you will become irrelevant, ignored, left behind, leave money on the table and lose authority in your market."

"I had a good business before this, I'm passionate about what we do and how we do it, and as long as I communicate with all clients, employees and suppliers, along with tight financial controls, I'm confident I will have a good business again when this is all over."

Of course I could go on and quote some more, but the reality is, for a lot of owners, we simply don't know do we? The above difference of opinions should be personal to your business and the conditions which surround it.

It's too early to see the full extent of the damage which will be done to the business community, but it will be significant, I think we can agree on that. Given it's my blog post I better give my opinion on at least part of the challenge;

I see and hear about weak balance sheets. This is almost exclusively in the SME sector where some lifestyle business owners tend to leave precious little cash or assets in the business which might make life a bit easier to deal with during tough economic times such as these.

In the most part, I simply don't buy into the opinion that the world has changed for ever, and for everyone. If being at home has made you think about what you want as a business owner, and you make the changes required to ensure you are happier and healthier moving forward, then that's no bad thing surely?

I think for most, to knee jerk or pivot into another business sector or product/service during these times is either brave or stupid, especially if it's a market you don't know, where the clients don't know you, and you will probably come up against some key players who know their stuff. I know it sounds negative, but remember I said this will apply to most, not all. Conversely I have heard 2 great stories at the start of the lockdown of businesses which had been hit hard, but had the infrastructure in place to assist easily with support to the NHS, with minimal investment.

Finally, yes there will be huge change for some either now, or in a few months time, but I believe if you love what your business does, your clients and employees do also, and the market will be there when "normality" returns, then be diligent, communicative and think carefully about how you will hit the ground running when the time is right, and that you have used this time to add even more value to your service/product/people.

I wish you a healthy and thought provoking time away from the normal hustle and bustle and hope that we all find an even better way  of achieving our dreams.