Navigating the darkness


As a business owner in the hospitality sector in April 2020, I understand 100 percent the pain many of you are feeling right now. What are the right decisions to make, can I survive this? Everything right now feels so impossible, too many unknowns, too many what ifs; how do we navigate this and have a business at the end of it?

Navigating the darkness

There are so many unanswered questions, with the whole country living on a day by day basis, awaiting our leader’s announcements at 5pm, clinging on until our knuckles are white amongst renewed calls for us to keep calm and carry on. It’s a battle, and it may feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is some way away, and it may be.

But there will be an end – we all know that much at least. is 11 now, 11 years of blood sweat and tears, many of my team have been with me for a number of these years. They have become part of the family, I know their personal situations, our kids are friends – they are so much more than just numbers to me and as a business owner I take on my own challenges and in some respect the challenges that they also face. The burden of responsibility is heavy, a story I am sure many can relate to.

What I do know and want to impart in this piece is that this crisis has realigned my perspectives, as both a businesswoman and an employer. I have taken so many learnings and believe long term, they will make me a better boss, a better negotiator, a better person even. I have seen my employees come together and unite, I have seen them unconsciously try and release me from carrying this burden alone. Through kind words, offers of assistance, acknowledgement of the challenge I face and the decisions I make and most of all an understanding, in many ways, even though we work apart, we have never felt more of a team than we do now.

This crisis has shone a light on the commitment and resilience of our team and will inevitably make us stronger, more determined and I urge you to try through this darkness to take hold of such powerful lessons and let them manifest in a positive way, these teachings are something we can all take away from this situation.

So, with little clarity I head into the week, not knowing what it will bring. An ever-changing landscape one without a map or a strategy in place to guide us through. We are all in this together, we must help each other.

What I do know is this, my team are okay, they are healthy and they are safe and for today that is something to be entirely grateful for. My business like so many of yours, will live to fight another day. We must hold on a little tighter, we must help each other wherever possible and remember at the end of this a collaborative effort will be needed.

When the people return to the pubs, of which they will. I believe they will do so with an increased appreciation, and I hope we will also appreciate more, our customers, our suppliers and our staff, I think that all our businesses will depend on it.

Helen Lees