We made it!
Just before Christmas, the Enterprise Research Centre released their latest report into the impact of Covid on the UK's small businesses. Unsurprisingly, over 40% of SMEs surveyed had suffered reduced turnover as a consequence of the difficult year, with around 200,000 companies at risk of closure due to insolvency or cashflow.
As at least a small glimmer of hope, 21% of SMEs said that their businesses had grown during the year, with a quarter increasing turnover and a fifth taking on new staff.
Like all micro- and small businesses, Herald had a strange year. Our writing work remained largely unaffected as the demand for quality content stayed the same, and our team of brilliant authors already work remotely.
We have also worked from home for over six years now, so that wasn't a problem.
The challenges came with the events side of the business where suddenly physical conferences ground to a halt. Everyone was pivoting so we did the same, and organised a series of online events, balancing the need to provide benefits to our client's membership with growing an alternate revenue stream by charging non-members. The big annual conference that we usually organise in November couldn't happen and that felt very strange. We continue to work with our clients to grow different income channels and, whilst the loss of a conference will always be a significant blow to finances, we see the tentative signs of recovery that should sustain our clients through to a post-vaccine normality again.
Whilst I would obviously prefer that Covid had never happened and there was no 'new normal', it's forced us to look at the bones of the business again. We have reevaluated our aims and our future activities, looked at other ways that we might support new and existing clients, and made the business as financially efficient as possible.
In spite of the tough times, I am generally optimistic and a believer in 'all shall be well'. We probably wouldn't have had such an opportunity to take stock if we hadn't been forced to, and we have had chance to think more creatively than when it was more a case of 'business as usual'. I'm proud of what we have achieved, very pleased that we are still here, and excited (albeit cautiously) about what a better year will bring.
A big thank you to our clients and to our fantastic team of writers (like us, freelancers who have also been buoyed around by the choppy waters of 2020).