2020 is inching towards a close – take a deep breath – but don’t expect everything to reset on January 1st as Big Ben’s chimes come to an end at 12am. We may wish it to be so, but unfortunately we can not make it so.
Normally when it comes to planning time of the year, there are some things that we think may happen and some things we know will happen – some will be good, some will be challenging. What will be on this year’s list?
It is hard to think that on January 1st 2020 Covid-19 was a term that none of us knew what it was. Then it was an illness in China, then it spread, and it just keeps on spreading. We’ve all got used to terms such as social distancing, furlough, lockdown, self-isolate that were not also not in our vocabulary back in January. We all have a range of masks – one in the desk drawer, one in the car, one in the laptop bag / handbag – just in case we need one at short notice. No-one dare clear their throat without apologising over and over with the reassurance that it is not the virus.
2021 will start with the virus still as active as it is now. Staff will have to self-isolate at a moment’s notice, remote working will still be the norm. So how does that affect your staff? Their morale? Your offerings? Your customers? Your suppliers? Have you got staff on furlough? What are your plans for taking them back into the business? What does the re-entry model look like? After all some could have been off for almost a year. They may be rusty, they may be lacking confidence, there may be mental health issues such as anxiety after the time at home.
Flexibility is going to be key for all businesses for at least the first half of the year, and probably well into Q3 and possibly even the start of Q4. Make sure that your internal marketing ensures that employees are well informed so the negative rumour mill doesn’t get a look in. Make sure your HR policies have the flexibility to cope with the “induction” back to the workplace for any that have been off for a long time. If you need help with that then visit www.hrvectro.co.uk for an outsourced HR approach that fits with your business.
Just recently there has been good news that a couple of vaccines are showing promising results. But we have to remember that they still have testing and approvals to finalise, and then there is the manufacturing time, the logistics challenges and the time needed at vaccination points to not only vaccinate people once but twice a few weeks apart. Then it will take another few weeks until immunity will be in place. Some companies organise flu vaccines for staff, but unlike the flu vaccines, the Covid-19 vaccines will not be for sale to anyone apart from the NHS. Companies need to be aware that they need to allow time off for people to have the two injections.
With the discussions between the EU and the UK still continuing regarding whether there will be a trade deal or not, that gives companies the worst of both worlds. Spend time on preparations that may not be needed, or do nothing and find that there is no deal and catching up the preparations is going to be heavy going.
Brexit will make it (slightly) harder to do business with the EU, but at the same time, it will be slightly easier to do business in other global areas as the trade deals are done. More is exported already to outside the EU than inside the EU, so don’t be afraid to look further afield. If you need help with wondering how to tackle the non-EU world for your products and services, then drop me a line via the contact us page.
After the struggles that there have been, many companies, including my own, believe that they need to have extra resource, but do not know how to mitigate the risk of taking on new resources. Before this current lockdown I was reviewing the option of taking on a Kickstart employee as there is no risk to my business and everything to gain. Then the lockdown started and business became a little sticky again, but I am reviewing the possibility for the new year. What is not to like? 25 hours a week (work and training) and the government pay the minimum wage rate for the age for 6 months. Hopefully, in 6 months the job could become permanent, or if not, then the kickstarter will have work experience, skills and business knowledge that they did not have previously to take forwards with them.
I am old enough to remember the YTS scheme in the past – my cousin set up her own business at the age of 18, the Prince’s Trust gave her a grant for her kitchen equipment, YTS paid for 2 members of staff for her, and her successful company was born. When the YTS finished she took the two staff on permanently – it gave her the boost she needed to get started, and them the experience that they needed.
If you want to learn more about Kickstart then your local Chamber of Commerce, even if you are not a member, is a good place to start – they have great resources and information packs for everyone.
This is a term that many are using at the moment. Independent retailers are now doing click and collect when they didn’t have a website previously. Restaurants are doing deliveries, and so on. As the challenging times continue, is there a way for your business to pivot – maybe a different route to market, maybe a different product or service. If you need help in analysing where you could move to, then take a look at the business mentoring page and then if it seems a good fit drop us a line.
Yes, I know that it has happened and that there has been a result. BUT with the various legal challenges, it is not over yet. There is no transition co-operation at the moment. Why should you care in the UK? Well, it the US is uncertain that has an impact on the rest of the world. The old adage America sneezes, Europe catches a cold, has truth in it. The new administration may be taking over from a standing start – just as the health crisis deepens there and the economy is stuttering. It is definitely something to be aware of.
There will be other things that are specific to you and your business too. Don’t forget the marketing campaign management 7Ps: “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Pathetically Poor Performance”