How businesses have turned a global pandemic into a success story

A blog by Ashley MacDonald

Let me start off by saying what has happened in the world has been awful and in no way can we celebrate the fact it has happened, is still taking place and the huge affect it has had on the world and most of the people we know.

That being said, I am known to be an optimistic person and I love to here about positive stories that have come out of bad situations and to celebrate the adaptability of people and businesses.

How businesses have turned a global pandemic into a success story

By all means the global pandemic took us all by storm, the intensity of the virus meant by the end of March 2020 most of the UK was shut including many of our clients. We of course helped where possible with tax breaks, furlough claims, advice on grants that may have been available as well as bounceback loans and planning how they may overcome future hurdles. But there is only so much that we can do in our role.

What we have found though is this break from regular working activities enabled a lot of business owners to step back and assess their business in a way they hadn’t before.

The main example of this was cost cutting, extracting all non-essential expenses from their businesses, spending time negotiating better deals with suppliers and pulling the purse strings tighter than ever before.

A great example of this is a client of mine who was forced to close and was not eligible for any grants apart from furlough claims to cover staff wages. He sat down with a list of all suppliers and gradually was able to reduce costs on the majority of his suppliers, reduced down obsolete stock being held and the outcome is that with plans to open back up full time once more his profit levels are actually higher this accounting year after 8 months of restricted trade compared to the previous 24 months combined.

It doesn’t stop there though another client saw opportunity where others hadn’t and set about starting a new income stream to his business during the early lockdown months that meant he was able to continue to employ some of his staff he would otherwise have had to lay off.

Many companies have developed new working methods, those that will in time potentially change the way they trade entirely. A great example of this is our training providers First Intuition who quickly moved to online training to ensure our trainees and all their students continued to learn during the months they were unable to invite students to their centres. With many of our trainees this and exams being held online is now something of the norm and there is some belief that this will be the way forward and the future of training.

And then there is us at Gascoynes. We have undertaken huge changes ourselves, some of which we would have made anyway but others purely adapting to the change in circumstances.

Last March our management team were ready to sign the lease on our new office when COVID-19 and government lockdown hit. We had huge reservations about investing in an office with the possibility of not being able to use it. We also had thoughts that this could be the catalyst for people working from home more often and with that our need to move would not be needed.

A visit to the site and a discussion about how we wanted to frame the next 10 years and more of Gascoynes was enough to move ahead with the switch and we couldn’t be happier with that decision.

Although we are yet to be in the office full time with all staff we have had a taste of it for about a week before Christmas and I know how excited the staff are to make the most of the new office. We’ll also be so happy to be able to invite clients in once its safe to do so as well.

With so much negative press about at the moment I think its important to celebrate successes even more so, the three examples above aren’t unusual I could list out probably another 20 clients or more that I’m aware of who have adapted their working practices for the better in the last year and are reaping the rewards.

Make sure you celebrate the successes and please do share you stories and spread some good news.