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Having owned and been involved in a number of businesses for many years I today sat and listened to someone head up one of the hardest meetings anyone has ever had to give. Many business owners, especially in the unusual times that we are experiencing, will undoubtedly face an uncertain future. Whilst many are hoping, and want their livelihood to continue, they have to face the reality of reassessing what will happen in the coming months.

Over the years I spent in business and particularly whilst being involved in the accountancy world I met many such business owners. I saw the devastation that unforeseen events can throw at us, forcing owners to face the reality that life as they knew it was about to change forever. The hardest part was the heartbreak they knew they would lay on others who were directly involved with them. People such as their workers, suppliers, customers as well as those third parties indirectly connected.

Any decisions made are only done so after many sleepless nights. The worrying of how others will react. The thinking of what those people, as well as their own family, will do going forward. The loss of weight caused by lack of eating and the sick feelings as the inevitable moment draws closer when you have to say, “Things must change.”

Not only did I understand what the person making such an announcement today was going through I also had total empathy, having experienced that moment myself in the past. In my case I was fortunate as I had prepared for the inevitable and led my way into that moment of change.

What it made me realise is that it is often forgotten by others that those who take up the mantle of business, especially the smaller or unusual type of business, such as a small retail shop, printing services, dry cleaners or a small publishing house, are normally just one-man bands. They invest not just their money but a great deal of their time and effort in ensuring that their customers benefit to the best of their advantage. Often the amount of time they spend working outweighs the normal 40-hour week of employed people, with their week-ends being filled with those little jobs they perhaps didn’t have time to complete during the week.

This country is built on solid businesses and we will unfortunately see many such meetings as today's, happening again and again during the coming months. However, with understanding and patience I trust and hope that those in this situation, including the person who made the announcement today will come through, battle weary but stronger for it. While it may take longer than anticipated, with continued support we should see success. I know I for one will be fully supporting them all where I can.

AnnBrady ©

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