Updated: Aug 10, 2020
August is the month of recovery, at least in 2020 it is. After six months in lockdown most of the world is ready to get back to business and life as it was pre-COVID all be it in the midst of news of a resurgence, second wave and the spread of new cases in isolated areas. We all know there is no widely approved vaccine yet, no guarantee the virus won’t return in winter and no proof that all of the businesses that have taken advantage of government loans and bailouts will be able to survive long enough to pay this back. We also know that the risk of playing it too safe will cost us more businesses and more jobs. It seems for the most part that everyone is pretty much ready to get back to normality and live with the consequences. I wrote an article a few weeks ago for Medium https://bit.ly/2PFQa6E where I talked about the need for innovation and new ideas that force companies to be smarter, more efficient and more valuable to customers if they were going to outlive the woes of economic recession, changing user behaviour and a significant drop in consumer confidence.
As it stands in the UK there are around £50bn worth of guaranteed loans taken on the bounce back loan scheme but over 60% of small businesses with less than £5000 in credit balances last year; yes COVID caused a lot of financial upheaval this year but many small companies were just getting by before this all started. Government schemes have no doubt helped many of them stay afloat during this period and for some provided a welcome injection of cash for investments and other projects but there is a payback period. To really win this game, businesses need to think more than 12 months ahead and create strategic financial plans that respond to the changes likely to affect a range of industries for years to come.
Nothing will actually ever be the same. This year is a game changer and the change is here to stay. I keep hearing people talk about how great it feels to finally start getting back to normal whilst forgetting that the actual definition of normal has changed a lot! Social interaction has changed forever, our attitudes to shopping and spending have changed and the way remote working is perceived has seen a huge shift since the lockdown started and those are just a few examples. Those who embrace, explore and empower their people to change will reap the benefits of a world recovering from a global pandemic.