Our Managing Director, Scott Murray shared his surprisingly uplifting thoughts on this uncertain time!

Writing this article from what was once my dining room, but now acts as a makeshift HQ for our 9 companies, I look back with a fondness to the chaos that my days hitherto the great Corona outbreak of 2020 was filled with.

For the sake of clarity, for those who are unfamiliar with what I do, my team and I own 7 bars/restaurants and a travel agency, as well as a consultancy.  Quite possibly the most precarious of portfolios you could hope for at a time like this.  I receive daily calls from friends, colleagues, family, and staff asking how I am “holding up” and I don’t think they quite believe me when I tell them that I am in terrific spirits.

The reality for us is that we had a contingency.  OK, perhaps not for this scenario exactly, but we had a disaster management system in place which was implemented as soon as things started to go south.  We surrounded ourselves with experts in their field, from finance to accounts, to HR, IT and legal, and held twice-daily calls to keep updates communicated with our incredible teams.

When the button was pushed and the lockdown was confirmed, we were prepared. We were able to shut down our outlets in a matter of hours, communicate to our staff and customers, and relocate our offices to our homes and creating a virtual meeting room and call centre. We communicated with our suppliers and gave them a realistic timescale for their invoices to be cleared. We didn’t panic. We didn’t listen to the tabloid scaremongering. We got on with running our business and looking after our staff and customers, just as we always have.

We are certainly not alone – I have seen this pattern repeated time and time again across the Highlands, and it is heartwarming to see the true colours of many businesses shining through in such a positive hue.  Businesses that were previously “professional enemies” are now united in their efforts to get through the other side of this pandemic.

Communities are pulling together in a way that we have rarely seen before, and the true selflessness of human nature is prevalent. 

Families are spending time together once again and learning more about each other than they ever have. Up and down streets, gardens are being given a new lease of life as we get back to nature. 

Dining tables are being adorned with dishes that could quite possibly be featured on the next series of the great British menu, and desserts are being served that would make even Paul Hollywoods’ mouth water in anticipation.  

Our DIY skills are being honed, and from virtual music festivals, to working out with Joe Wicks, we are adapting to our (hopefully) temporary reality in an incredibly uplifting way.

Back to business, and we have been given the gift of time. Time to streamline. Time to address all of those little jobs that we never got around to. Time to train. Time to evaluate our processes. Time to really gauge whats important.

That’s why I am in terrific spirits. That’s why I remain positive, and that’s why we will emerge from the other side.  Not only will emerge, but we will be better leaders, we will have better businesses, and we as a society will be better people.

Ain’t that something to smile about?