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Best Practice As We Exit Lockdown

Post written by Justin Grace

As we start to head out of what we hope is this last lockdown there is still an incredible amount of uncertainty. I recently spoke to Roy Lauder, Director at the Harrison James Partnership ( ) to get his views on how to make the most of opportunities as we hopefully return to normality.

What is your view on the current economic environment?: “This is a time of great concern for business owners as governments react to the ever-changing situation with Covid 19. As long-established advisors to SMEs throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, we supported our customers through the great financial recession of 2008, and we are helping them again. This recession, however, looks distinctly different in kind.”

“First and foremost, all business owners, should be focussed on ensuring the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families, and their teams.”

“In addition, however, it is essential to take steps to protect the business that feeds these families by aiming to make the best of the current situation and preparing for when this crisis will end: and it will end.”

“The emerging economic “recession” will need to be managed, starting now.”

“Businesses which not only survived, but thrived, following the 2008 major recession, were those who thought and acted ahead of the curve. Remaining positive is critical: why waste a recession, opportunities always arise out of them?”

In your opinion will there be a continued recession?: “The question is, will this be a long or short recession?”

“Having closed their economies down for months, most countries are trying to reopen. Huge sums have been poured in to prop up the UK economy, but this cannot last and schemes such as Furlough will unwind in the autumn.”

“So, in some ways, the worst is still to come. Increases in unemployment, reduced demand and the Covid-19 precautions are still restricting business activity in many sectors. This will take some time to recover from: earlier predictions suggested that recovery might be in Q3 of 2021 while more pessimistic forecasts suggest mid to late 2022. No one really knows.”

“Our experience in 2008 and the following years can be seen in our recovery graph below, we see this crisis as having three distinct phases. We have just about come to the end of the ‘respond’ phase with many companies now clear what adjustments they have made or need to make.”


“The next stage is the ‘planning’ phase, and this is essential as the market has not yet recovered enough for most sectors to implement growth plans. Now is the time to plan what your new business will look like. There is no “back to normal” it is onto a new normal.”

“Then, when the time is right, you are ready to hit the execute button and put your plan into action.”

What do you believe organisations should be doing now, even as the economy starts to open up?: “I believe there are a number of activities that businesses should be doing now to be best placed to take advantage of future opportunities. I believe there are:

1. Build a growth fund – It is essential to unwind your business costs below revenues to start to develop a small surplus. You will need to invest in new routes to growth and will need a fund to do this when the time is right.

2. Get the right capacity number – Assess what the new optimum capacity of your business needs to be. There are optimum operating numbers of personnel for optimum efficiency and profitability. Some companies, stuck with the wrong number and blend of staff, will continue to lose money.

3. Understand your revenue cycle – Assess where you are weakest on your cash generation cycle and fix it. See our free survey on

4. Customer service – Stay in touch with your customers. Even though they cannot buy from you right now they will remember you and come back when they get their budgets approved. Talk to us about our Customer Connection survey.

5. Innovate your product or service – examine your pricing and packaging to suit current economic conditions and market needs. This will likely, too, open new channels to market.

6. Keep talking to your team – retaining good talent is essential for growing businesses. Whilst few will be moving just now, the good ones often leave when things start to pick up if they feel they have been ignored or taken for granted in the hard times.

Finally what do you believe is the most important activity businesses should be doing at the moment? “Actually I think there are 3:

1. Focus on the upside not all the negative rhetoric.
2. Focus on what you do best; leave non-value activities to others.
3. If you think you have a problem act swiftly. Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away because it won’t. Find someone who can help you before it is too late..

Roy Lauder is a Director at Harrison James Partnership
Email Roy here or visit his LinkedIn profile here Roys Lauders LinkedIn Profile

About Justin Grace

Justin Grace is the Managing Director of FD Executive Solutions, a business that supplies expert Part-Time Finance Directors who have spent their corporate careers working in variety of sectors and organisations, bringing a wealth of skills and experience to make a difference to their clients. He can be contacted at

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