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22/03/2020: every time of change is a time of opportunity!

Every time of change is a time of opportunity

Sometimes the opportunities are harder to spot as in our current crisis. However, no matter how gloomy things look for small businesses, they exist. We can help each other identify actions to take while we are forced to operate at reduced or even zero capacity.

My working life dates back to 1969. I have observed business reaction to wars, shortages of energy, materials and personnel, three day weeks, crippling interest rates and myriad other smaller but nonetheless potentially damaging disruptions.

Some businesses have folded, never to be seen again, yet some have thrived once normality is restored. Together, we can increase chances of survival and even business gains by using the time to make sure we are ready for the recovery when it happens. The common thread among the businesses I have seen thrive post-crisis is that this is exactly what they did.

All of us have aspects of our business that can stand improvement. When busy with the 'day job' though, devoting the time required is hard to justify, with such efforts appearing to be 'non-work' or even 'anti-work'. With the constraints of everyday business being loosened, this is the perfect opportunity to grease the squeaky wheels, discard unprofitable business practices, products and services, freeing us to concentrate on getting the best value from our time when the crisis passes.

This is easy for me to say, sitting in the comfort and security of my office. Making it happen against a depressing backdrop can seem like a massive mountain to climb. That is where working together comes in. By getting together as a local nucleus of a business network group we can all bring some ideas to the table, which individually may make only a small difference, but when shared and combined with the input of fellow local business people in similar circumstances, can combine to become collectively far greater than the sum of the component parts.

As a thought starter, here are a few aspects of business that each of us may find profit in considering for the bright new day.

  • Marketing, promotion and sales effort.
  • Profitability.
  • Reciprocal business.
  • Travel.
  • Surroundings.
  • General efficiency.
I could go on and on, but am not here to offer my opinions, the most useful thing I can do is to get the discussion under way and let everyone be amazed at how much great advice they can get from and offer to those in the same boat.

I have plans for changes while things go a bit quieter, which should benefit my customers and my own business. I am happy to share these with all local business people in the overall conversation, during which I will undoubtedly pick up more.

So, how do we get together while the country heads for lockdown? For my own part, I have facilitated a bulletin board/online forum on the IN8 Networking site to last throughout the current crisis, and beyond if there is a demand. Anyone is free to join in the conversation, harvesting and contributing ideas, or commenting on those of others to improve/modify/customise to suit different trades. There are very few rules. Even if it just to chat informally with sympathetic local people, all input is welcome. The most important rule is that this is for self-help and group help. It is about sharing ideas and definitely not for advertising, not for me, not for anyone. Anyone who abuses it in such a way will be stripped of membership and blocked from re-joining. We are in this together, let's behave in a manner befitting the British Spirit! Good hwyl boys and girls…

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