What I’m proud of as a business owner coming out of 2021
Cast your mind back a year for a moment – we were all locked down, looking forward to a pretty bleak Christmas, the vaccine still seemed a pipe dream, the virus had decimated huge swathes of the economy and we were wondering with trepidation what 2021 held in store. From my perspective and at the risk of sounding a bit Churchillian, 2021 taught us yet again that as a nation we are resilient, bloody-minded and can find our sense of humour whatever hand life throws at us to play with. And nowhere were these most British of characteristics more apparent than amongst my peers in the small business sector.
Businesspeople are by their very nature optimists – why else would you eschew the comfortable, safe life of employment for a rollercoaster of stress, adversity and constantly opening new battlefronts? You have to love it to do it and that passion coupled with an ample dose of good old fashioned British resilience and humour is what has got most of us through the last twelve months. And yes, it makes me proud. I meet clients who smile through the adversity even as they find a way to deal with the latest calamity that has befallen them through no fault of their own and I am uplifted to know them. I walk through my office and I see our team muddling through and working together to deal with whatever new obstacle has been put in their way and I am constantly amazed.
But if I had to say the one thing that makes me most proud to be a business owner I would choose this – the fact that even why the world used phrases like “the new normal”, it is the business community that adapted. From the very largest companies suddenly ramping up capacity to deal with changes in demand – the supermarket chains for instance suddenly having to increase delivery capacity massively – to the smallest businesses finding ways to survive and thrive whilst the world seemed to collapse around them, it is the business community that did so much to help get us through the worst.
That is why despite Armageddon-like predictions of mass unemployment to rival the Great Depression, we have emerged with more people than ever in employment. It is why people still want to socialise, holiday, eat out and otherwise do the things that make our lives more fulfilling. And it is why when all this is over, the world will continue spinning on its axis and we will, in that most British way of all, keep calm and carry on!