2021: Happy-ish Ever After?


Right before Christmas I was talking to a slightly feverish Supply Chain Director, he was sharing his current crop of logistical nightmares, looming in store availability challenges and staffing issues. In one way or another I’d been having the same conversation with so many people over the last three or four years in the run up to Brexit. Brexit analysis-paralysis was a real thing for so many FMCG firms.

John Lennon summed it up when he said, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”.

Were you for or against Brexit? Did you love or hate the pub arguments? Did the Westminster political shenanigans fascinate or repel you? Were you fed up with all the internal ‘what if’ analysis?

Well, it doesn’t matter – it’s all ancient history now. The new post Brexit Playbook exists – our job is to get to grips with this new reality and make it work for our businesses, our families and ourselves.

The new Brexit Playbook applies if you are from the UK, the Eurozone or based Internationally. For countries who will cut a Free Trade Agreement with the UK in 2021, there are some real potential wins. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US in particular all have companies with unique products that once tariffs are reduced or eliminated stand to do well in opening up the UK market.

The big building blocks are in place in the Brexit deal – no tariffs and a half decent VISA scheme. The other elements will slowly come to light as we start to navigate them. On a personal note I think leaving the university Erasmus is such a shame on many levels and I’m watching developments on both UK food standards and UK product labelling like a hawk as this is key.

A Christmas Miracle…

Over Christmas I finally shut the laptop lid for a few days and took some time out to process the year gone. I wanted to share five personal reflections.

  • The team here were amazing – unflappable, professional and made me laugh all year long. Consistently hiring people smarter than me has been a brilliant plan.
    Clients who saw 2020 as full of challenges and opportunity rather than stress and risk surfed the waves better – cultivating this growth mindset is key. No one got this consistently right though, we all had our moments last year.
  • For clients, we didn’t do anything different last year and that was just fine. As usual, we just tried to be helpful and took the time to be interested in what our clients are up to – we don’t really ‘sell’ as such. We listened, we encouraged, we connected people up, we gave a different perspective. And when the time came when we were needed, we got our heads down and delivered. The result was our busiest ever end of year. Thank you.
  • I have to say that that was a year to show us as individuals what’s important – health and family top the list. Even if, as I have discovered with four teenagers at home, it is possible perhaps to have too much of a good thing!
  • Lastly, I got a deeper understanding of just how amazing all our front-line workers are. And, after doing my tiny bit as a NHS Volunteer, massive respect for the way the medics do their jobs every single day.

And What Has 2021 Brought So Far?

Well, COVID hasn’t gone away but we are now entering what Churchill would call “the beginning of the end”.

We don’t know the twists and the turns ahead, but the vaccine should give encouragement to all who have made it thus far. It’s a great result to just stay in the game if that’s what you’ve done. If you’ve pushed on as a business – hats off to you. For all, it’s a time to keep going, think about the shopper, innovate and plan out how you can out fox your competition.

Yes, things are tough again, but they won’t stay like this – the end is coming into view. I’m always happy to have a chat or see how we can help, so please just lift the phone or drop me an email. Please find our contact details.

And look after yourself, that’s the key this year. Happy new year!

Hamish

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