It’s been a long journey hasn’t it? Six months ago today, the news was that two patients in the UK had tested positive for Coronavirus having probably contracted it in Iran.

And here we are.

Within two weeks, everything had changed and I’m sure you don’t need a history lesson from me about what happened next.

We had the new normal which was anything but normal which we covered in our end of March article “Why optimism might not be the best strategy”, the new new normal as we started to manoeuvre our way out of total lockdown, that new new new normal as most businesses started to gear themselves back up as if they were a fast growth startup and now this strange period where many businesses have never been busier but some have virtually nothing.

The latest statistics suggest that GDP has fallen by 20%. But of course, that’s a misleading figure as it almost suggests that everyone has contracted by 20%. As we know, some businesses were pretty much unaffected from the start and some were closed but are now meeting pent up demand for their services.

And then there are the businesses who because of the nature of what they are do are unable to open at all or have no trade. Furloughing has lessened the damage but with no end in sight for those companies they need to be financially strong to come out the other end especially as we don’t even know when the other end will be!

In the meantime, many people have genuinely never had it so good in financial terms. From employees working from home with greatly reduced outgoings to those furloughed on 80% who have taken other work (quite legally). Let’s hope that money finds its way back into the economy quickly.

And at the other end of the scale, those trading through limited companies with no work and no government help who have in some cases gone from earning a good living to claiming Universal Credit.

It all seems very unfair.

The reality is that there is no new normal for us all. But each business has its own new normal and each of us are adjusting as best we can.

For some of you that means that the services you provide or the products you sell are very different now. Maybe the people you sell it to have changed as well. And I’m pretty sure the places you are doing it in are different.

Some costs have gone down but others have gone up. Many of us have noticed big increases in insurance costs as the underwriters detect the stench of future claims driven by the “where there’s blame there’s a claim” brigade.

But as one of my oldest clients who passed away earlier this year said to me during the financial crash of 2008/09, “well, it’s what you make it isn’t it”.

The last six months have been about reacting quickly to an ever-changing situation.

But we know we where we are now. The next 12 months is much more predictable.

The deaths are in single figures each day, the infections seem to be mainly amongst the young (many of whom are pretty much ignoring the “rules” anyway), we all know how to socially distance and wash our hands, we fist pump or elbow bump instead of handshake, the kids will soon be back at school, the guys who drive vans are doing what they always did and us office types are doing our job in flip-flops and tee-shirts at home apart from the odd meeting where we have to check if our work shoes still fit.

Oh, and London is still closed.

So, unless Vladimir Putin is right and the Russians do have a vaccine that works and choose to share it with us, this is how it’s probably going to be for another 12 months.

The second wave won’t be one big wave but a collection of little waves which have already started. There will be local lockdowns when a spike is detected somewhere and those affected will shrug their shoulders and get on with it.

But it is what you make it which is why we’ve been covering the Ten vital ingredients for a recovering business over the past few months. Just as a little reminder, the ten steps were:

  1. Clear vision and goals
  2. Identify the correct roles for the owners or get the right combination of roles for partners
  3. Build a team you can rely on (but not over-rely on)
  4. Communicate goals
  5. Good customer service
  6. Accurate measurement of performance
  7. Sound cash flow
  8. Sound sales and marketing strategy
  9. Good knowledge about your industry and competition
  10. Efficient systems

At A4G, we are putting the finishing touches to our plans for the next 12 months.

New trainees will join as usual in a few weeks and there have been a few staffing changes elsewhere. We’ve been a little short-staffed in the past few weeks but that will be fixed with one or two new faces and staff coming back from holiday. The services we provide have adapted and we are ready to provide the support our clients need.

Whatever stage of recovery you are at, I hope it’s going well. If we’ve been able to help along the way, thank you for trusting us. If you know someone who would benefit from our help, please feel free to forward this email on.

Have a good Bank Holiday weekend.

Contact me today!

Malcolm Palmer


Managing Partner

01474 853856

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