The second year anniversary popped up recently of an event I went to in London in 2020. It stands out for lots of reasons, but one of them is that it was the first time I saw some people in our hotel wearing covid face masks. Just a few. Everyone thought they were odd.
At that time, covid was just beginning to be a regular feature on news bulletins, but no one had any conception of what the next two years was going to hold.
The reason I mention it here is that looking at the pictures from that day in late February, 2020, it seems like a different life; so much has changed.
We will only really find out exactly how much in the next few months, as the ability of businesses to trade as they were set up to do, normalizes – how will their customers react? How much HAVE we changed? What do we now want?
For many businesses, the last two years have been about survival. Steady state. Just stick around. For those that have done it, survival is a success. But what they have lost is momentum. Forward movement. They have missed that essential quality in any successful business – continuous development – which was captured so succinctly in the Dylan line: “…he not busy being born is busy dying.”
For some, that means when the customers return, their offering will be way off the pace; for others, they might have sufficient reserves to quickly invest and catch-up. Still others will have a sufficiently ‘sticky’ customer-base to give them the time they need. But all of them are metaphorically opening the doors, dusting off the ‘we’re open’ sign, and seeing who walks through the door, and what it is they will want.
You can pick up that strand of continuous evolution in the No Ordinary Day Job interview, which you can find on page 22 of this edition.
We speak to Roger Le Maistre, who has never pursued a traditional career path in Jersey. From quantity surveying, to farming, to the Valley Adventure Centre, to holidays and then solar energy. His working life is a lesson in always being focused on the horizon, of not standing still, of always maintaining momentum.
It’s a good lesson as we come out (hopefully) of covid to remember what moving forward felt like, without waiting with trepidation for the next government announcement, and wondering, “ok, so how on earth do we follow that, and keep the customers coming in?”
Connect, and its sister publication, Bailiwick Express, have been a dependable presence throughout that period, and we will continue to reflect, investigate and analyse island-life to help you to make sense of what is happening around you.
I hope you enjoy it.