2020 began with a lot of promise and potential, no different than many years before. However, by February its vision became blurred by the threat of COVID 19, which became our reality for the remainder of the year. We have seen job losses, bankruptcies, downsizing and a new normal in social interactions and the way we do business. What a year it has been. So much has changed. So much promise and potential unrealized, but we made it through. Many at home and abroad left us -they did not make it through. However, here we are, ready to reignite the cold logs of hope and fan their flames as we chart a new chapter in our journey.
A new year and especially this one, brings with it a freshness and a feeling of exhilaration. Although we have not beaten the virus as yet, we feel that a new day is dawning, and we plan to take full advantage of the opportunities that will abound. After major world events like the Black Plague 1346 -1353, the 1918 Spanish Flu, 1929 – 1939 The Great Recession, 1914 - 1918 Word War I and 1939 – 1945 Word War II, the world bounced back stronger and more resilient. I am certain that this pattern will not change now.
Revenues for 2020 fell below 2019 by 51.25%. Our financial targets were way below expectations on all key metrices, and losses skyrocketed even as we reduced our costs as much as was possible. Despite this, I am happy that we were able to keep our doors open and maintain staff at full salaries as per pre-COVID (except for the directors who had to forego salaries at times and took a 50% pay cut). We gave up our office space at The Towers and worked from home to protect our clients and each other. The going was rough as we struggled at times to make payments and to collect from our clients who also had their own financial challenges. But we made it, together.
As we embrace 2021 with its possibilities we must climb out on the limb where the best fruits are. This will no doubt be risky, but we must – no risk-no reward. We will renew our efforts to make a mark in the US market, using Florida as the gateway. You will recall our plans for Florida back in 2017 which had to be shelved as fate had other plans for us.
I strongly believe now is the time to cast our nets further afield. Sometimes no matter how hard you try the results may not reflect your best efforts. It may very well be that the problem is not the quality of the bait or the fishing rod but the location in which you are fishing. Jesus said to his disciples after they had toiled all night and caught nothing ‘Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch’ another version said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some’. The catch was so great that they had much difficulty hauling it in.
The new economy will favour those persons and businesses who can work anywhere, from anywhere. Since the pandemic, we have only 5 instances when we executed an engagement face to face. This new reality has shown us that we can indeed pivot and change our collective behaviours when the situation requires it. This being the case we will shift our base to the US market and focus our efforts on improving the company’s fortunes for 2021. We expect the US economy to recover faster than the local economy, which is highly dependent on tourism and remittances, both of which have been significantly impacted.
This requires us to step up our game especially on social media and invest in building our personal and professional networks, as people do business with people they know and trust. We have a strong suite of product offerings and need to do the work required in Florida to build the brand in Florida.
We will be as successful as we make up our minds to be. World-class customer service is the only way to go as we compete on a global level starting today. Everything we do must be within the context of high quality, exceeding expectations internally and externally, and striving for excellence. We must be proud of the work we do each day individually and collectively. Let’s create masterpieces that we will be proud to put our signatures on.
The times are changing and there is no going back to what was. Let us create a new normal together. However, in the words of Nelson Mandela ‘One cannot be prepared for something, while secretly believing that it will not happen’. We must believe and take action.
Cheers to a successful 2021!