It’s fantastic that vaccines are finally being rolled out, but everywhere is wall-to-wall with heartbreaking and alarming stories. Combine Covid-19 with the resultant economic downturn and it’s not surprising that business confidence is once again dented.
Stories are coming through of supply chains under severe stress and delays thanks to Brexit, which means that for many managing workflows and keeping customers happy just got even harder.
These are difficult and life-changing times and we’re all going to have to dig deep. One way to do this is to talk about the issues we are all facing. Much is rightly made of the need to support our collective mental wellbeing and that requires our business leaders to adopt the same openness and honesty with themselves and their teams.
As we work remotely as much as possible, how many of us truly know what our team members are going through at home? Not enough of us, I’m sure. And then there’s our own wellbeing. Having the weight of a business on your shoulders while your bank manager is breathing down your neck and your customers stall on their invoices – or, worse still, go silent and stop buying – can be debilitating.
Time to discover someone who can listen. It doesn’t need to be somebody who’s walked a mile in your shoes, but it might help if they have experience of running a business.
The key is not being too proud to ask and remembering that having a conversation is not an admission of failure, it’s a safeguard against it. Pick up the phone, say “Hi” to someone who you’ve not spoken to for a while, or who you usually only communicate with via email and you’ve started an all-important conversation. I know it is easier said than done but it is crucial that we all take downtime, step back from the business and take time to recharge.
Let’s focus on the positive and remember that despite the gloom there are good news stories out there. Could you work together with another firm to share the risk and reward? Could you tackle a shared problem and strengthen your supply chain? And how can you build your business profile and reputation? Partnership working isn’t a new thing and maybe a little more collaboration would be a good thing.
One thing for certain is that we’re not going to be able to get through this alone, this is going to take a monumental effort to build on old and new partnerships.
My last question for all of us is: Are you up for it, and how can we all work together to renew, restart and rebuild our economy and our communities? Here’s to our collective success.
Andrew Metcalf, director, Maxim PR & Marketing Ltd Twitter: @Maxim_PR