Still in doubt that Brexit was a good idea, the facts will tell the SME business story in the next few years? However, judging by the debacle, the EU finds itself in right now. This may be another home run for those of us that thought Brexit was chiefly about accountability and national governance.
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I can’t help feeling the losing side seem to have now gone very quiet, as the football chant would go; where are ye? where are ye?
In business, we make decisions on facts; if the facts are lacking, you test & measure. If the data isn’t there, you wait to make decisions, and you delay, you pause while the KPI (Key Performance Measure) becomes available.
Most of the thousands of SME business owners who have heard me speak will testify to my views on how to prosper. The decisions we need to make to drive our businesses forward. The methods of obtaining a commercial advantage. The areas of opportunity that many companies miss. Or too swamped with the pressures of the day to day to make the most of the opportunity.
So to examine the UK Conservative governments actions, the shared western democracy panic as the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic hit. Would have been premature.
The economic recovery is already taking shape nicely – and the shape looks increasingly like a “V” after all. Despite this, many commentators are still pessimistic and even eager to emphasise the downside risks. It is time to view the glass as “half full” instead.
Let us start with what we already know. The economy shrank by an unprecedented 25 per cent in just two months between February and April, but it could have been even worse. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s projections for the public finances are still based on a 35 per cent fall in GDP, sustained for a full three months. The Bank of England had warned of a 30 per cent decline.
What’s more, there is now ample evidence that April was indeed the trough, and that activity picked up sharply in both May and June, even while large parts of the economy were still in lockdown. This evidence includes surveys of business activity, such as the Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) published by Markit. The handful of official numbers released so far have generally been better than expected too, including a 12 per cent jump in retail sales last month.
Indeed, both the OBR and the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, have now acknowledged that the economy is performing less badly than either had predicted. Even the record level of Government borrowing is slightly below the path that the OBR had pencilled in.
Of course, it is still too much to hope for a neatly symmetrical “V”-shaped recovery, where GDP returns to its pre-crisis level as quickly as it fell. But the latest data suggest that the UK economy should get back close to this level much sooner than many had anticipated, and the picture will look far more like a “V” than the “U”, or even “L”, that some had feared.
In the meantime, some households have been hit disproportionately hard, including many poorer families and the self-employed. Many of those on the Government’s furlough scheme are worried about losing their jobs when it ends. Nonetheless, most households have actually built up their savings during the lockdown. Pent-up demand is therefore still likely to be strong.
However, you should encourage your employees to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so.
Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
Many UK SME businesses are misunderstanding what the government instruction is… relating to COVID 19
All companies can carry on working, and the direction is that people should not breach social distancing. So Retailers, Pubs, Restaurants and Businesses that necessitate people to meet, Theatres, Clubs etcetera, should not open.
Remember that deliving your food or product to the customer is not only OK, in many ways for businesses it’s A unique opertunity. First you learn who and where your customers reside and secondly the delivery person, drives afficency as the customer will be available to receive the order.
You can, however, trade if you can protect the public, your customers and perhaps most importantly, your employees.
Consider social distancing, don’t have teams travelling in the same vehicle. If you can work from home, do so, so clerical duties can continue.(more…)