It is safe to say that business is in somewhat of a confused state at the moment. There are areas of positivity, areas of real entrepreneurship and other areas where people are frankly terrified they may not make it through.
But in amongst all of that there are other sectors that are really not sure what will happen but there could be cause for optimism in more cases than is currently clear. The new normal is starting to take shape, albeit very slowly, and we are starting to get some slight ideas about how business and industry may look “post Corona”.
Here are a few thoughts on business that may end up doing well in the new normal which will benefit the UK economy as a whole.
Manufacture and production
It is no secret that we outsource things, a lot of things. After the collapse of giants like British Leyland we never really got back on the horse. However, there are lots of British companies producing things that people need and the global impact of Covid-19 may well see UK companies turning to more local producers and manufacturers where they may have once looked overseas. There could be a number of reasons for this but the most likely is unreliable supply chains. We don’t know how other countries will fair and no one really knows how China are fairing now because they don’t really want anyone to know. For a company creating a product to sell into shops the idea of a certain part not arriving on time is not worth the risk. SME to larger companies turning raw materials into parts and fodder for manufacturing are here and ready! They have been busily working away for years in the UK and may now see a substancial spike in orders that may have gone elsewhere before. There is an army of British companies that may well be able to step up to the plate and deliver the goods as we move forward.
Paul Edwards from Pentagon Plastics says:
“We are in uncertain times, but this could be a great opportunity for British companies.”
The changing work environment
The workplace may never look the same again; social distancing and methods to prevent viral transmission are going to play a part in how offices and workplaces look for months if not years to come. Companies that provide services around creating work environments are about to get very busy indeed. Office fit out companies like are a great example of a business that may well boom as we move into the post corona world. There are companies that are already designing and producing screens and partitions like Komfort, and these will no doubt be a big growth area. It is really important that companies able to offer services to help move us all forward are getting themselves out there.
Mark Hawe from Space Link says:
“we are already seeing enquires shoot up around re-designing interior office spaces to allow for social distancing while maintaining the number of seats and future proofing for more staff.”
One of the sad realities of the situation is that once furlough ends there may be a number of companies that begin to look at their staffing costs. What this may mean is that some in house staff may be let go in favour of more fluid outsourced services. This is a very worrying situation but one that is dictated by business pressures that are hard to mitigate. An in-house marketing team for example may well be productive but also costly. With lower levels of revenue and available investment a company may choose to spend half the amount of money on outsourcing marketing for set periods during the year. The advantage is there is minimal commitment. If things take a turn for the worse not only is the outsourcing model cheaper it is also something that can be turned off with out lengthy processes. Obviously, the growth in outsourced marketing companies will lead to more jobs, many of which ex in-house people will no doubt get.
Other growth areas
There are a range of other areas that could do well too! Certainly, subscription models are not going to be harmed by this, the idea of getting things in the post rather than shopping is now more appealing than ever. Any eCommerce platform should be pushing hard right now! Tech in general is going to play a massive role, digital companies, communication companies and more are going to be needed more than ever.
There is also a lot of call for local producers from craft breweries to cheese makers, wine, gin and so much more. When people couldn’t get online grocery slots, they turned to word of mouth to find the things they need and many of the artisan companies are beginning to thrive. Again, this may be at the expense of larger companies but it comes with the advantage that the revenue is staying in the UK economy and we certainly need as much of that as possible in the coming months and even years!
Sadly, there are a lot of businesses that are going to find this so tough they may not make it. However, it is a time for reinvention, for creativity and some real business grit. There are ways businesses can change what they offer to meet the new requirements of customers and combat the decline in ability to provide their more traditional services. It is a time to call upon all the entrepreneurs and business owners to think and invent a way forward and Britain has always been a great place for hat kind of person!