I hope you are all safe and well. Who would have thought we would be signing emails with stay safe instead of regards?
I am sure, like me, you are now fed up with attempting to reforecast your business performance for this year. These are certainly unprecedented and very strange times we find ourselves trying to navigate.
It’s been a tough few years for business; firstly there was Brexit, a government that did not have a majority and it all felt frustrating, leaving us wondering what will happen next and what does the future hold. Finally, in the last quarter of 2019 we had clarity, a majority government, Brexit was done and we could all start to look forward, finally knowing what the future held.
Fast forward to March and all our lives changed. COVID-19 hit the UK and we went into lockdown - for everyone in business in the UK this was something we had never experienced before. I am sure many of you have had sleepless nights wondering how long this will go on for, what the world will look like when we finally come out of this pandemic and how businesses will get through, as I have. We are now starting to see some chinks of light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to get back to some sort of normality, although there are still so many things none of us know. When can we visit customers, will employees continue to stay at home to work and the list goes on.
What is for certain is there are some challenging times ahead for us as a town. No doubt there will be people losing their jobs, businesses, our football, cricket and rugby clubs will all be under significant pressure.
I am immensely proud to be the MD of dbfb, steering it, with my team, through these difficult times. For 21 years the company has been supporting Northampton businesses. We believe in giving local youth an opportunity and have an apprenticeship programme that we have run for several years alongside our partnership with Northampton Town Football Club where we are the sponsor of all the youth teams up to the academy side. We have been involved in the Franklins £50 Challenge for Cynthia Spencer and support Age UK. In 2019, CityFibre committed to a £40m inward investment into Northampton for a full fibre to the home roll out and dbfb played a leading role in securing this investment, enabling our town to be at the forefront of the digital revolution.
I believe that as a town, it is critical that we support one another and help everyone through this challenging time. Over the last month we have been reviewing our supplier base and challenging ourselves to see what can move from large corporate businesses to local suppliers. I have personally been really surprised to find that by sourcing these suppliers, for various products and services, we can often achieve the same, if not better pricing, along with a far greater level of service where we are talking to a local person instead of an automated machine or bot!
Having run a business in 2008 through the financial crisis, I know you will all be looking at reducing your costs, at the same time wanting the flexibility needed in these uncertain times. I am lucky to be heading a local technology business that can deliver flexibility in its contractual terms as well as cost savings in nearly all instances.
I would challenge every business in Northamptonshire to do as we have and buy from a local supplier. The more money we can keep locally, the quicker our businesses will recover. Our employment levels will be higher, we will be able to offer the business leaders of tomorrow a chance of fruitful employment and our town and county will bounce back quickly.
Take a hard look at your supplier base for all your purchases. Then look at who could deliver these services or products locally. For mobile phones, broadband, telephone systems, wifi and IT services, please challenge the dbfb team to deliver what you need at the right price, on the right terms and keep our money in our Northampton and the county.
I would like to wish every business in Northamptonshire good luck over the coming months, we can and will come out of this stronger.
To find out more, email Simon Pickering at firstname.lastname@example.org