Weathering the storm

I joined Ensors in January 2009 and it’s interesting to look back at the narrative concerning the economy at that time and how it would affect businesses.

With everything that has happened in more recent years, it sometimes feels like ancient history. But what we went through, was the deepest recession since WW2. The difference with other recessions of more recent memory, was that the recovery was not so swift and we operated in a low interest, low inflation and lower growth economy for many years afterwards.

I recall some of the rhetoric around business owners not having the experience to deal with operating in a recessionary environment. Well, there has been ample time and opportunity to address this and the resilience of local businesses to weather the storm is a testament to the leadership of those businesses.

And with more recent issues: Brexit; the COVID-19 pandemic; and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we are seeing a plethora of issues, some sector specific and some across the board, that are posing new challenges to businesses.
Be it rising interest rates, inflation, supply chain issues or skills shortages, there can’t be many businesses not feeling a degree of stress in one way or another.

The recent gloomy Bank of England forecast and quarter 1 contraction in GDP, coupled with talk of a looming recession are hardly a surprise against this backdrop.

Businesses will continue to do what businesses do best: deal with uncertainty and given the experience since 2008 those comments about not having the experience to deal with operating in a recessionary environment, seem somewhat naïve on reflection.

We can all see there are challenges ahead, albeit the nature of those challenges has changed since 2008. However, the underlying resilience of local businesses and the way they have adapted in the face of significant change, gives some solace. That doesn’t escape the fact though that for the next couple of years we are in for a bumpy ride.

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