MKBLP Online Roundtable Discussion

Date: 14 May 2020

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Insights and strategies for businesses as they plan to navigate through a post Covid world

With an increasing appetite for virtual events and discussions during the Covid-19 pandemic, Milton Keynes Business Leaders (MKBLP) has held its first, online, roundtable discussion for members.

Guest speaker, Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, initiated discussions by providing the group of business people, from all sectors across Milton Keynes, with economic indicators and details on the positive narrative from businesses, particularly SME’s.

Sharing statistics and market sector analysis from leading financial organisations, Richard was able to paint a clear picture of businesses across the country. From the fact that over half of SME’s (51%) believe that they will grow their businesses either once lockdown is eased and people start returning to the high street, or when the country is clear of the virus, to the 76% of company CFO’s who believe that demand for their products and services will be revived later this year, with Q3 expected to be a key period of recovery: “No one is expecting a snap back return, but there is a positive narrative amongst businesses, and by mid-2021 many are expecting pre-Covid levels to return.”

With an apparent country wide appreciation of the Government’s financial measures, particularly the Job Retention Scheme to protect employees, Richard discussed how business leaders have reacted to the crisis, from shock and denial to a decisive shift of defence to adjust their businesses to survive: “This process will continue to evolve over the coming weeks, but business leaders have reacted by stabilising their businesses and are starting to ask themselves what’s changed, what will revert, and what will continue to be a new factor which will continue to affect their businesses.”

Echoing this sentiment was MKBLP member, Mike Adamson, Local Director of Metro Bank, who commented on the process of emotions businesses have experienced throughout the pandemic and the optimism which is now beginning to filter through: “The panic has settled. In March, many businesses didn’t know how this would affect them but there is now a reasonable degree of forecasting. While there is nervousness around the consumer, and their reactions as we ease out of lockdown, we are encouraging businesses to plan, with contingency planning in place.”

MKBLP members followed with discussions around the significant shift from traditional to digital content, and the need for business leaders to have intersectionality at the heart of their decision-making processes moving forward.