Planning action or change – the COVID-19 impact

The impact of the COVID-19 virus will be felt for some considerable time ahead. With vaccines now being rolled-out, the main challenge will be the economy. With unemployment rising, earning enough to clear the monthly bills is going to be a worry for a lot of people for some time to come. Is now the time for planning action or change?


My financial crisis

This got me thinking of the financial crisis my wife and I faced almost 19 years ago. We had started a family and child number two was well on the way. Our ‘Forever Home’ was going through the final stages of an extension. What could go wrong? Simple, the electronics industry discovered they could purchase printed circuit boards manufactured in China for next to nothing and, as a result, the industry in the UK shrank considerably with the loss of many jobs, mine included. Application after application was sent with no success. Also, I forgot to mention, I had changed jobs a year before so there was no redundancy payment!

A work colleague mentioned his wife was employed by a company providing ISO certification and they needed auditors. I applied and, after an interview, the only missing ‘tick in the box’ was the ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor qualification. I booked the week-long residential course. The final day was predominantly taken up by a three-hour exam. Inevitably, the course was perilously close to my wife’s due date. My sister-in-law (slightly less pregnant than her sister – isn’t that strange?) was given ‘wife sitting’ duties. Needless to say, daughter number two put in her appearance during the exam on that Friday! Fortunately, I passed the exam, so that put the final tick in the box. By the way, the investment in that course (£1500) is still funding our lives today.


Planning Action or Change

So, with a considerable mortgage to service, some decisions needed to be made and quickly. It became clear that employment was likely to mean re-location. But where to go? My wife’s family lived in East Anglia, so it was settled. Our house was placed on the market and, after some shenanigans with time wasters, the house was sold and we headed East. Being near my wife’s support network was useful when I had to start travelling for work. Fortunately, we were left with enough equity to buy outright in Norfolk. Being mortgage-free with a young family removed a lot of stress and permitted my first period of self-employment.


How we can help

The ISO standards (ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018) all focus on Planning Action or Change. It is not easy to plan in the midst of a crisis. However, taking some time to consider what is required to achieve an Action or Change will pay-off in the long run.

I guess what I am saying is, that in challenging times Planning Actions or Change can fashion the long-term future. Do we have any regrets? None at all.

If you need some help with your business planning for actions or change then give us a call.

Tel: 01284 330400

We work with small to medium size businesses across the East Anglia Region.

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