We’ve recently swapped the late summer sunshine for more stormy, autumnal weather. In between the recent heavy rain showers, the appear-ance of a beautiful rainbow got me thinking about how important it is to look ahead both in life and in business, and to remember that stormy times are often short-lived. I believe good times are always ahead.

Many of you might be considering how much easier it would be to just get on with your working life and to run your business if there weren’t so many other issues to think about at the moment. And 18-months ago, as the world seemingly came to a crashing halt, how many of us thought beyond those immediate storm clouds?

Figures published by the Office For National Statistics (September 23rd 2021) looking at the impact of coronavirus and other events on UK business and the economy gives some interesting insights and I believe cause for optimism:

The proportion of businesses currently trading has remained broadly stable since June 2021, and reached 90% in early September 2021.
The proportion of currently trading businesses whose turnover has not been affected compared to normal expectations has continued to steadily increase to a high of 53% in late
August 2021.
In early September 2021, only 2% of all businesses not permanently stopp-ed trading expect to make some redundancies over the next three months.
Of businesses not permanently stopped trading, 6% expect employees to return to their normal place of work in the next month.
4% of businesses do not expect their employees to return to their normal place of work at all, highest in the information and communications industry.
In late August 2021, nearly one in five businesses were either not able to get the materials, goods or services they needed from within the UK, or changed suppliers or found alternative solutions.
There has been an ongoing fall in the proportion of business saying they have not been able to import or have imported less than normal, although over 60% of importing businesses continue to state they have faced challenges importing.

I think that these statistics illustrate that businesses and business owners always find a way to adapt, survive and hopefully thrive.

The truth is, there will always be something big on the horizon, so equipping yourself and your business with the skills and access to information and advice to make effective decisions will help you to navigate storms more easily. And that’s the point really, through life we learn, we gain skills and experience to enable us to continue moving forward as effectively as we can.

I am an optimist and when one door closes, another one opens and this mindset can really help, especially if you struggle as we all do at times with getting through the here and now. It’s easy to give up, but as we all know it’s harder to stay and fight.

I have also noticed recently that many business owners I speak to want to make a difference with what they do in their business. It isn’t just about the financial success; it is increasingly about their own emotional well-being and the need to make both a difference and a contribution to our wider society.

Having a clear purpose in life and through your business activities is increasingly important as customers and clients are placing an increasing value on why a business exists, not just what it does. And they are increasingly looking to businesses as well as government, to help navigate the next challenges on the horizon.

The greatest challenge we all now face is that of climate change. From October 31st to November 12th, the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 takes place in Glasgow and COP26 will firmly put the issues of uniting the world to tackle climate change on the news agenda.

As a firm we are committed to supporting the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development and we have pledged to be carbon neutral by the end of 2021. We have already planted a tree for all of our clients to celebrate our 200 anniversary and we are now working on removing all single use plastic from our offices.

We believe we have a responsibility to act towards solving the climate crisis that we all face.

And will it be on your agenda, as a business and as an individual? Perhaps your purpose after this conference will be more focused in this area? But whatever you decide, don’t forget that sunshine always follows the rain.

I’ll be continuing this theme in the next edition.

Alison Jones is Partner at Kreston Reeves
T: 01273 811000 or 0330 124 1399

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