In January 2020, it became clear that Covid-19 would have a significant impact around the world. Yet, by March, when Coronavirus arrived on the Island of Ireland, few had foreseen the whirlwind of destruction that it would cause to family life and business life. However, over the last few months, we have seen individuals and businesses step up to the mark, supporting efforts to control and quash the spread of the pandemic.
Despite the difficulties posed by Covid-19, many businesses displayed an ability to adapt and diversify quickly. We have seen businesses innovate and collaborate to produce and source PPE and hand sanitisers, as well as to feed our heroes in the NHS and HSE.
This ability to connect and innovate will be critical as we rebuild our economy.
Road to Recovery
Currently, various financial support schemes are available to help businesses cope with the Covid-19 impact on areas such as disrupted supply chains, loss of customers, projects put on hold, and changes to operating models due to flexible working arrangements and social distancing rules.
While these financial supports will continue to be important as we enter the next phase on the road to recovery, it will also be crucial to reach out and connect with staff, suppliers, customers and financial institutions as these connections are vital to the sustainability of every business.
Innovate or Evaporate
FPM has had many conversations with clients in recent weeks on potential research and development activities in the virtual world. The ability to innovate is now more important than ever and the UK and Irish Governments both have tax credit regimes in place to reward companies who undertake R&D activities.
In some sectors, social distancing rules have forced companies to innovate more rapidly than they might otherwise have done, but regardless of what sector your business is in, this is a great time to explore R&D activities. Remember, innovation doesn’t have to involve blue sky research. Sometimes, the simplest idea can be the most innovative. Decide who is responsible for innovation in your business and think about how to foster a culture where staff can contribute new ideas. Brainstorming in ‘no agenda’ sessions can be a good way to stimulate innovative ideas. It is amazing what can be achieved through these activities. Together everyone achieves more.