These are exceptional times. The imposed ‘lock-down’ seemed inevitable. Everyday we watch Boris Johnson’s daily press conference with trepidation. This incredibly challenging and unprecedented period will go down in history and we all have an important part to play.
As Managing Director of The Busworks, I have offered our business community my absolute assurance that their businesses are precious to us and I believe we can all get through this if we work together. I am determined to try my very best to help as many of them and their employees as possible to survive through this dire period, as well as hold on to my own loyal team who I value greatly.
Operating a large business hub close to King’s Cross, for small to medium size businesses, has been hugely challenging over the years. But nobody could have prepared us for the impact of the Coronavirus. Just as we emerged from the huge cloud of Brexit negotiations, where the whole country felt exhausted but somehow resolved to the change, we are hit by something bigger and more catastrophic than many have ever seen in their lifetimes. It would be terribly sad to see businesses close their doors and let their staff go, but the Government’s reassurance by way of grants, UBR reductions and tax help, has eased that fear, I hope.
Busworks has been going since 1979 and has seen many a recession and banking crisis before. At each terrible point, it seemed as if the bottom would never be reached, that we would never pull out of the decline and we might well lose everything we had worked so hard for. But the bad times did end and we, and the majority of our clients, survived. We have been around a long time – 40 years this year, in fact – and intend to be around for a long time to come.
The seriousness of this situation means that the guidance keeps changing and we continue each day to update our social media channels with the latest most relevant government updates to keep our business community well informed. Meanwhile, I would suggest SME’s make sure they have their management accounts up to date and ready to show their banks, along with any business plans they might have
Of course this ghastly situation will pass. It may well turn out to be a salutary lesson to us all and help us better figure out what we may need to do after Brexit and with the looming climate situation as well. We wouldn’t be running our own small businesses and making a success of them if we were not resilient, resourceful and imaginative. I’m desperate for as many businesses as possible to survive and get back to normal service in the coming months.
My team and I will do our utmost to adhere to Government guidelines to keep us all healthy and safe. Being rather old has the benefit of having acquired experience and a sense of what really matters in life, so I have had to self-isolate for three months; but I will still be accessible and will work from home to retain some kind of normality and structure to my solitary days.
Keep well, don’t despair, hold onto your friends and family – and make your bank manager your best friend.
Good luck all of you.
Gillian Harwood – Founder & Managing Director
(United Workspace Limited & Lewes Workspace Limited)