Firstly, I am not a University graduate, Doctor or Politician, but I am a proud business owner that employs a wonderful team of 11 people, so this introduction to the next few pages is from the heart. I am grateful for those that have contributed to the next 15 pages. However please be conscious of how fast this situation is developing when reading.

The reason for the photo below, is because this as a photo shows me, success, hard work, joy, fun, recognition, and whilst it might seem a lifetime away, these times will return, I promise you. Stay strong. We are in this together. #CheersTogether #StrongerTogether
The reason for the photo below, is because this as a photo shows me, success, hard work, joy, fun, recognition, and whilst it might seem a lifetime away, these times will return, I promise you. Stay strong. We are in this together. #CheersTogether #StrongerTogether

When I first heard about Coronavirus I was definitely in the camp of “it’s flu, it will blow over, it can’t be that bad.” In a matter of weeks Coronavirus has had an impact on everyone globally. We are in the middle of history, where Coronavirus will be spoken about, reflected on and taught to generations to come.

Putting political beliefs to one side, I have nothing but praise for Boris Johnson and his government. However, they must deliver on the promises made and ensure it filters down, and quickly. Our Prime Minister has had a lot to deal with, first Brexit, then a General Election, then the floods, and now Coronavirus...and he hasn’t been in for a year yet. He has a baby on the way, and still not a hint of grey hair, no wonder he has no time to brush his hair, a set of hair I wish for by the way!

As much as I love our country, the bone idleness and ignorance of many on the weekend of 21st/22nd March was staggering. India can lock 1.3 billion people down at little notice, because they have respect for their government and each other, and because the population realise how serious this is, whilst too many of our population have not taken this seriously and have little or no respect for others.

I have said for a number of years that the national press needs to be regulated and held accountable, and after some of the drivel that has been reported in recent weeks, this has to happen. They have single handedly caused panic buying and have not spared a thought for the elderly or those with mental health challenges, in particular those that suffer with severe anxiety. This modern media way of “click bait” content is unprofessional, careless and stupid.

The economy will recover, it is just a question of when, but we need to make sure that the right mental health support is in place, as millions will need this, and like Coronavirus, mental health is an invisible killer.

The public service needs to all be recognised as heroes, nurses and doctors that in some cases are risking their lives and abandoning their families to care for others is highly commendable, and we should not forget the Police and Fire Brigade who continue to perform their duty for us all. The teachers in our county, not only do they look after and educate the next generation of workers, business owners and leaders, but like other public facing personnel, they are doing this in extraordinary times. Teachers and/or Schools often only receive “bad press” when Mum posts on Facebook about how little Johnny has been given a detention, or when a school is in special measures... where are the positive stories?

Schools and teachers have far more positive outcomes than negative, just like businesses, but rarely are they spoken about. Teachers should be praised for their efforts and forward thinking as millions of children are now home schooled by parents, who will now probably get a taste of what it is really like being a teacher, but imagine looking after 25 - 30 all day!

It’s not all doom and gloom though!

In China, 70% of the 80,000 people that have been very sick have made a full recovery

- Doctors in India, France, and the US have been successfully treating COVID-19 with a combination of anti-malarial and other drugs

- Apple have reopened all 42 of its stores in China

- Scientists in China have figured out how COVID-19 breaks into human cells, which is critical information for creating treatments and vaccines

- A Cleveland medical center has developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in 2 hours

- Scientists in Israel are expected to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine

- In South Korea, recoveries are beginning to outnumber new cases of infection

- A Japanese flu drug has proven effective at treating COVID-19

The following companies were all formed during “the crash” of 2008 - 2010 - Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Square.

If there is a positive in all of this, it is that perhaps that we as a society become kinder to one another and appreciate the more simple things in life and business. My favourite statistic is that as of 19th March, there had not been a murder in London for 11 consecutive days.

The “Virtual Pub” was an idea born out of different conversations with Mitch Clarke from Europa Logistics and Chris Wright from ACS Recruitment. We meet, online, every Thursday at 4pm. All you need is a good internet connection and a drink in your hand. If you want to join us, look at our social media accounts for the latest Zoom link.

The next 15 pages are dedicated to providing you, our readers, with advice and support on how you can perhaps cope better during this unprecedented time. Some of you will find it more interesting than others, but I felt we needed to do something for our readers.

If you are a small business, or perhaps the only Director and you need advice, speak to your closest circle. I have had my share of sleepless nights in the last few weeks, and shed a few tears through the uncertainty, but I have a wonderful circle of connections and friends through business, plus an amazing team of staff, that have really helped me. I do not know all of the answers. I wish I had a magic wand to get us all through this. My phone will always be on, and my door will always be open if anyone wants to ask me a question or just wants a chat.

Ben Thomas - All Things Business