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Hope and opportunity in dark times. Your business after Coronavirus.

We are facing difficult times as the death toll, hospitalisations and case numbers of Coronavirus continue to rise.

The announcement this week that a vaccine is not far away has lifted us a little. Nevertheless, the pandemic is shaking the foundations of our physical and mental health as well as disrupting the economy.

How can business owners negotiate the turmoil and consider what shape their business might take after Covid-19?

Faced with the current crisis, business owners appear to fall into three camps…

  • They have been forced to shut down following the first lockdown and are uncertain about what the future will hold.
  • Still trading but don’t really know what they should be doing next. Prevented from operating as they did before Covid-19, they are unable to move forward and have no clear strategy for the way ahead.
  • Business owners who acknowledge the challenges and difficulties but are buckling down. They see this time as arguably a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Every business is different, of course, but it seems to me the worst thing you can do as a business owner is nothing at all. It’s not an option that will allow your business to thrive after coronavirus. It seems the best approach is the third – to adapt and look for opportunity.


An article by Heather McGregor, executive dean of Edinburgh Business School at Herriot-Watt University started me thinking about how to look beyond the current crisis. Writing in The Sunday Times in the Mrs Moneypenny column on 1 November 2020, she said: ‘In a sea of uncertainty, one thing I am certain of is that business will never be the same again.’

She suggests that we can learn from the writer Arundhati Roy, who sees the pandemic as ‘a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.’

I agree that there is likely to be opportunity arising from the crisis we face. Whatever happens next, in my view, we are not going to be able to do things the way we have always done them. Business needs to change.

As Heather McGregor points out, the Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is formed of two characters. The first means ‘danger’ and the second is often translated as ‘opportunity’ but actually means ‘the point of change’.


Before the pandemic, as business owners, if we were honest with ourselves, we were at times guilty of operating on a purely transactional basis. It was all about the mere exchange of goods or services to make money.

And while there is nothing wrong with making money, I think business owners who want to be successful post-Coronavirus will need to consider people and relationships more important than mere transactions. Business owners will need to be more relational in how they operate.

A transaction still needs to happen of course but going forward I think there needs to be an extra dimension. The pandemic has highlighted how important relationships are.

We have all kept in touch with Zoom, WhatsApp and so on, but social distancing and lockdown has highlighted how inadequate these technologies ultimately are. Of course, technology is vital to business and will continue to play a crucial role in the future. However, at the heart of business, it’s all about people.


Your suppliers, vendors, customers, clients, co-workers and team members are all crucial to your business. It doesn’t mean we stop using technology, far from it. We will continue to communicate digitally and WhatsApp and Zoom are great tools. However, they are just that – tools.

But I think going forward, the businesses that succeed in a post-pandemic era will be those who truly put people at the heart of what they do. Successful businesses after coronavirus will be those who integrate the digital world into a new relational way of doing business.

What will that look like for you and your business?

As a finance broker, in the past, I am ashamed to say I have been guilty at times of viewing an application for finance merely as a transaction. Get the deal done, get paid and move on!

My mistake has been not realising that often it’s not about the money. Rather, behind every application for finance, there’s a story.


The pandemic isn’t over yet. Sure, we have the hope of a vaccine. But some tough times still lie ahead. But it will end.

And those business owners with the ability to adapt will come through the best after coronavirus. Those businesses that thrive in the weeks, months and years ahead will be those who re-think how they do business.

In my view, it won’t just be about better processes, or improved marketing strategies or a greater use of technology. It will be about better relationships with your customers, clients, suppliers, employees, co-workers, and professional advisers.

I believe great things can come out of the toughest times. As business owners, if that is to be true for us, people must be at the heart of everything we do.