Coming out of Lockdown
30th July 2020
Those of you with little better to do would have noticed that I missed my last slot 4 weeks ago and my Client Email was never completed in late June. I think the lockdown weeks had begun to blur and roll into each other and I obviously lost track of time (or had nothing interesting to say). However, this time round India gave me an ultimatum and a deadline for this week, and I pleased to say that by hitting the latter I avoided the former.
It has been interesting to see how people and businesses are all starting to emerge from Lockdown. I was reflecting on this whilst we grabbed an impromptu trip to the Lakes for a week, the day after the pubs could open. What a joy just to have a change of scene. Foraging for food at the end of the first day we saw that The Yew Tree in Coniston was a little stressed, shall we say, and not coping as well as The Crown Inn round the corner, which had a good system for engaging with their customers with a simple track and trace app and a welcome smile - not a face mask in sight. Being served up a Cumberland sausage and mash with a pint of Cumbria Way after a day on the fells - heaven.
All businesses, including us, are wrestling with ‘how to get back to work’ and ‘what does the new normal’ look like. I do not feed off other people’s woes but an article in Reuters did catch my eye recently and at first, I confess, I did laugh …. and then I could not stop. I paraphrase but the headline was “Government allows Brothels in Athens to Re-Open”. The thrust of the story lay in the trouble that the purveyors of said trade were having with the application of social distancing with their clients, and the problems said clients were having with track and trace, wishing to retain anonymity and not wishing to queue outside keeping a 2 metre spacing – I bet!
One ‘madam’, who owns three establishments, has already returned to profit as she was able to bail out the local football team through a low key sponsorship deal. The players are thrilled that the club has staved off insolvency and will be in a position to compete next season, but are at best ambivalent about wearing a new pink strip with ‘Villa Erotica’ stencilled across their shoulders – I kid you not.
Some businesses may well return to prosperity quickly, and of course, we wish the oldest industry of all our very best, but others will take a while longer, if at all, and there is no hiding the deep seated problems that the world economy faces. Quite what shape the recovery will be - ‘V’ shaped, ‘W’ shaped ‘L’ shaped or ‘Nike swoosh’ shape (whatever that means) or when it will occur remains unknown; however, the world economy will recover because it always does, and it’s our belief that we will look back in years to come on the COVID-19 era in the same way as we look back on the Banking Crisis of 2007/08.
However, there is no doubt there will be continued pain for many businesses and enterprises for some time to come. The contingency planning put in place by our Financial Director is coming into its own this year and that the financial planning process we apply to the development of your financial plan is equally applicable to Pilgrim i.e. having a rainy day fund to cope with shorter term ruin. By taking the same approach we can retain our fabulous team in full and our longer term plans remain on course.
Our planning and business is only as good as the support that you give us though, and again from me and the Team I wish to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support and good humour through this crisis.