The plan was to create a “post-pandemic” process and resource article which was intended to be as informative as it was inspiring. The reality is there is no “post pandemic”, for now anyway. Whilst we languish amid the 21st century answer to a wartime-like economic disaster, businesses are hung out to dry with no idea as to when all this is going to end and even less idea as to what to do now Omicron is threatening to be as dangerous as the first wave of COVID. What is the plan from here on? No one seems to know, not least our very own government. We are yet to see full-on panic mode from our leaders in the same way we saw in March 2019 despite their “concern” at the latest variant’s ability to evade the protection of vaccinations. Most of us dutifully marched down to our local vaccination centres to “protect others” as well as ourselves, a scene reminiscent of those young men signing up to fight at their local recruitment office at the start of the Great War and WW2. The theory was that we perform our duty and get back to a normal way of life as soon as possible. Well, this appears less likely entering 2022 than it was mid-2019.
So, what now for UK businesses? A lot of the grants and Bounce Back Loans intended to help us through and recover from the pandemic have been utilised. Even before the Omicron variant, the recovery rate was stalling due to COVID and supply chain shortages. Lack of resource for the likes of logistics and the leisure industries have been well reported but these shortages are reflected across all industries. Are we heading for an economic car crash?
Whilst I can confidently advise Downing Street against hosting a Christmas party when the rest of the country is in lockdown, I don’t think my experience in economics would give me the audience to even speak. However, I am somewhat more qualified in advising businesses processes and freeing up resource. Why? In 2008 I started Lawton Hathaway, a specialist debt recovery, credit management solutions and outsourcing business which shot to fame by assisting recovery of over £150 million by 2012. The “credit crunch” refocused core functions and here we are thirteen years later doing the same thing. Some people say it’s a natural cycle and who am I to disagree? In 2008 there was a lack of available funds, customers had tightened their purse strings and debt was at an all time high. Focus moved to cost savings and, inevitably, staffing costs. If business were to survive in the short term, outsourcing was more necessary than it was desired.
It’s now 2022 – have things really changed that much? You can’t even open a new business bank account without disappointment. The market is extremely cautious and, once again, eyes are on the bottom line. But whichever direction you look, future trade opportunities are hampered and the signs suggest that the economic short-term future appears bleak. Therefore, outsourcing now could be the difference between prosperity and the status quo. Outsourcing does not necessarily mean you lose control. In fact, with a specialist managing your business functions it can improve transparency and results. In some cases, they may know better than you what is needed to succeed. Yes, they may not know your service or product as well as you do, but they know theirs. Whether it’s marketing, secretarial, collections, logistics, debt recovery or manufacturing, it makes sense to take advantage of the services available and allow your staff to focus on what they are best at: knowing your product. It’s time to stop focusing on what is missing and instead focus on what you have. Outsourcing may just help your business to grow throughout the pandemic, never mind survive.