A year to forget, or a year to learn from?

The year 2020 will be indelibly etched in the minds of those who lived through it, and for those running businesses which depend on social interaction as ours does, it has been the challenge of a lifetime.

I’ve heard people saying that they can’t wait for this year to end and hoping for better times in 2021. It’s an understandable reaction, but both as individuals and as business owners, we have all had a short, sharp lesson in 2020 about what is really important.

On a personal level, we’ve all recognised that it is family, friends and community that makes life worth living; and for a business, the sudden imposition of an economic shutdown on a scale that none of us has ever imagined, meant we’ve had to learn fast about what is the purpose and priority of business.

An online session with coach operators and supplier members of the Coach Tourism Association this week saw accounts from two leading businesses in our sector, Edwards Coaches and Maynes Coaches, who have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by re-imagining their entire business outlook and re-focusing on new priorities. Of course, a significant part of this was about controlling costs – cash is king, after all – but there were also examples of learning from the past including demonstrating the value of employee and key worker transport by coach and bringing services such as tour operation back into the fold as a home-grown product.

Clearly, we still have a tough winter and spring to navigate, but if you’re able to survive through this, and can put time, energy and imagination into re-energising your whole team, there may be opportunities to come out of it as a stronger business.

See you on the other side.