Posts by Nakisa

Navigating Through COVID-19

April 3rd, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Navigating Through COVID-19”

Navigating Through COVID-19

 

Covid-19 is presenting major challenges to people and organisations around the world.  As business leaders, it’s crucial to know how to navigate through the impacts that this novel virus is having on businesses and the economy.

It may seem daunting to know which of the appropriate steps to take first to protect your business, but in times of crisis it’s always important to be innovative and adapt. There is no need to socially distance yourself from the resources that are available to you- you just need to familiarise yourself with what they are and how to best utilise them.

One of expert Directors Hugh Reynolds talks about the appropriate steps to take for you and your business during these uncertain times.

 

 

To help our SME colleagues, we would like to invite you to an interactive Webinar on Wednesday April 8th, from 1:30pm – 3pm.

This is an opportunity to join an interactive discussion, including how to access emergency government support, with our experienced Finance and Commercial Directors.

This session will allow you to break out into a small group with other SME leaders, in order to discuss these topics and how to implement them within your business.

 

During this webinar we will not only share our knowledge and experience of navigating through times of economic downturn but we will also be there to help you survive and thrive through the next 90 days and beyond.

By the end of this webinar, you will have a clear idea of how to access the help that is available and how to plan for the next few months.

The webinar hosts are:

  • Rob Boll–  (CEO/Founder/CFO): “Empowering you to lead your business through uncertainty
  • Rob Boll–  (CEO/Founder/CFO): “Continuously adapting your business model”
  • Hugh Reynolds (FD/CFO): “Navigating access to government funding”

 

Please CLICK HERE or visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-sme-webinar-government-and-bank-funding-and-how-to-access-it-tickets-101521934840?aff=MailChimp to join this free session and get direct access to the best Finance and Commercial Directors, who will help you with your questions during this economic shock.

Keep Calm and Optimise On

March 27th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Optimise On”

Keep Calm and Optimise On

 

Unless you live in a bubble (which doesn’t seem like a bad idea right now) you’re well aware that COVID-19 has taken our world by storm and is affecting anything and everything in its path.

Amidst the confusion and uncertainty that we are all feeling, as business owners, we must turn our efforts towards protecting our business and employees. It’s important to take precautionary measures in order to prepare your business for whatever is to come, and of course, do a lot of handwashing in the process. We must be ready to embrace, from a respectable social distance, the inevitable economic changes.

One of our Part-Time Directors Stephen Read talks about the few things you can do to help ‘keep calm and optimise on’ through this change.

 

 

Free Webinar for SMEs to Help Plan the Next 90 Days and Beyond

 

To help our SME colleagues, we would like to invite you to an interactive Webinar on Wednesday 1st April, 1.30pm – 3pm.

During the webinar you’ll hear from and speak to the best Finance & Commercial Directors and plan for the next 90 days and beyond.
They will not only share their knowledge and experience of navigating through times of economic downturn, but they will also be there to help you plan through this time of uncertainty.

Take this opportunity to join an interactive group discussion with our experienced Directors, who have ‘been there and done that’. You will have the opportunity to breakout in to smaller groups and discuss any issues you are facing with our Directors and other business owners.

By the end of this webinar, you will have a clear idea of what you should be doing during the next 90 days and beyond to help preserve and grow your business.

The webinar hosts are:

  • Catherine McKay (FD): “Communication has become priority number 1”
  • David Mutton (COO): “Stay positive and plan for 90 days at a time”
  • Heidi Murphy-Hunt (CEO): “Adapting the business model”
  • Stephen Read (FD): “Cash is King, Queen, President and Prince Regent”

 

 

 

Please CLICK HERE to join this free session and get direct access to the best Directors, who will help you with your questions during this economic shock.

Planning Not Panicking

March 20th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Planning Not Panicking”

Planning Not Panicking

 

Panicking? Planning? Or maybe Plannicking? It’s safe to say that everyone is probably doing a little bit of both at the moment.

Through all of the news and updates about COVID-19 pertaining to health, safety, social distancing, etc, the economic implications of this pandemic seem to be some of the most uncertain.

In order to prepare for the inevitable economic downturn, it is important to have a plan of action, a 90 day plan for example. Things are changing rapidly and you don’t want to be left in the dust when they inevitably change again. 

By planning and not panicking, you will be prepared for the worst case scenario. That being said, with a 90 day plan of action, if the worst case scenario doesn’t play out then business performance will benefit exponentially, and if it does then you’ll be ready to face it head on.

12 Steps to Help Your Business Prepare for the Coronavirus Economic Impact

  1. Communicate: Communication is key and it’s even more vital  in situations like this. It’s important that you continue constant communication with your team daily through video calls, emails, etc. Furthermore, you need to keep in constant communication with your customer base, your networks, your suppliers and stakeholders, and your community. Make sure to not leave anybody out of the loop! A good place to begin would be to answer the questions: who do we need to communicate to? how often? and through which method?
  1. Be Positive: In every crisis there is opportunity, even if it may not seem like it yet. Worrying never helps so continue to look for small wins every hour, turn off the news once in a while, and keep leading your people in a positive manner.
  1. Know the Cycles: We should always be aware of what is happening in the world. Continue to watch the impacts that this pandemic has had on China and Italy and see what is leading to their recovery as well. Make sure to also keep your eyes on the general market trends that are happening around the world and which are relevant to monitor.
  1. Be Ready for Change and Embrace it: The only constant in life is change, so this is your chance to get ahead and lead the change. Take a look at your vision and the things that are stopping you from getting there; maybe the business needs to shift, maybe there can be an update in products, services, or pricing- this is your chance to revamp the ‘old way’ of doing things.
  1. Cut Back: Now is the time to cut back if you feel that you need to. Stop the unnecessary spending, take the opportunity to reduce your cash out wherever you can, and slow things down or postpone if necessary. However, don’t forget to keep marketing and keep selling.

  2. Extend Credit: Get credit now while it’s still possible- loans, credit cards, overdrafts, etc. Make sure you implement the same practices with your personal finances as well. If you must refinance, try to do it as soon as possible. Furthermore, make sure you are paying attention to the rates and don’t just settle, find the lowest ones and start talking to a bank now.

  3. Staffing Cuts and Changes: While this is difficult, it may be necessary. Some ways to combat complete layoffs is to have employees take vacations if possible, reducing/ splitting time, pay cuts, or even through suspending bonus programs.
  1. Plan to Work from Home: No one knows how long this will last, so it’s important to be prepared to work from home for the foreseeable future. Make sure you and your employees have the technology needed, try to hold  video meetings at least once a week, and make sure to have a reporting system in place so that everyone has a clear visual.

  2. Online or Deliveries: As we all begin to practice social distancing it’s important that you do what you can to make sure you are still focusing on your customers. Explore new ways to work, communicate and deliver your product or service. Maybe that means going virtual, or offering free no-contact delivery- do what you can to make your customers feel comfortable.

  3. Market and Sell: Don’t make the mistake of decreasing your marketing or selling tactics, continue keeping on top of it. People still need your products/services so work on getting creative and bringing new offers/rates to the table, negotiate current rates, and try to get cash up front.

  4. Repeat Business: Every contact you have with a customer influences whether or not they will come back so it’s important, especially now, to make your customer base feel valued. Create deals just for them, extend your offers, roll out new deals, and make sure you communicate with them regularly.

  5. Common Sense & Compassion:  These are vulnerable times and we are all feeling a bit uncertain on what’s to come. It’s important to be kind to one another and to put others first. Practice things such as over delivering on customer service, or even little things like keeping things clean, using hand sanitizer, and maybe….not buying toilet paper in bulk…..

 

Evoke Management is always on the lookout for ways in which we can help SMEs and now is certainly the time when our extensive experience can really make a difference. With our team of part-time directors we are able to support all types of business with actions such as 90 day business continuity plans, negotiations with banks, loans, HMRC, and other finance issues, difficult HR decisions, access to governmental/other financial assistance, diversification and alternative markets, and internal engagement. 

Whether you’re Plannicking, Panicking or calmly planning, we’re on hand to provide help, guidance and pragmatic advice to ensure you make the most of these difficult times.

Please get in contact with us to book in a free 30 minute video call with one of our experienced Directors.

Employee Ownership: Getting Started

March 13th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Employee Ownership: Getting Started”

Employee Ownership: Getting Started

 

‘I first became interested in EO as a mechanism for everyone in my business to share in the success and wealth they make. In my mind staff are more important than capital. As an owner, I consider myself a custodian of the business for the next generation. There is no better way to exercise that role than to implement some form of employee ownership.’

-Hugh D. Facey MBE, Chairman of Gripple and Loadhog

———————————————-

It’s no secret that the Employee Ownership model works. Over the last couple of years the UK Employee Owned sector has grown by 18%. The businesses that have adopted Employee Ownership exist in virtually every sector of the UK economy, throughout all stages of business, and vary in size: from start-ups seeking employee commitment to established businesses looking towards succession. It’s safe to say that the benefits of Employee Ownership are drawing in a diverse crowd and the EO sectors don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

You’ll find that Employee Ownership exists when those who work in a business also have a meaningful stake in it, meaning they care and that the success of the business matters directly to them- not just their paychecks. This ‘meaningful stake’ is generally found in the business through significant or total ownership, combined with high levels of employee engagement and participation.

Similar to many things in the business world, what works for one business may not be what works for you, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid EO completely. Employee Ownership can be incorporated in three main ways, making it a model that works for a majority of diverse businesses.

3 Main Types of Employee Ownership

1. Direct Employee Ownership 

Through Direct Employee Ownership, employees become individual owners of shares in the company, often using one or more of the companies tax advantage share plans that are available. A main feature of this approach is that the employees will have their own personal shares, meaning that their financial rewards are directly linked to the success of the company. In short, it’s the most tangible expression of EO since employees can actually benefit financially as the company grows. Direct Employee Ownership is also a simple structure to communicate, as many employees are generally already familiar with the idea of share ownership.

A few questions to reflect on while considering Direct Employee Ownership:

  • Do all staff have sufficient funds to purchase shares? If so, would they want to?
  • Would the company be willing to make a repayable loan for staff to buy the shares?
  • How would the shares be purchased from the owner?  Over what time period? and at what value could they be purchased?
  • Will employees have to meet an eligibility criteria before they can become shareholders?

 

2. Indirect Employee Ownership 

Through Indirect Employee Ownership, all or a certain percentage of the shares of a company are held collectively on behalf of the employees provided through an Employee Benefit Trust, which is drawn from the employees, directors of the businesses, and an external independent chair. It’s important to note that the EBT does not normally require a payment of dividend on its shareholding and that many companies generally use an EBT to hold all of the shares- purchasing them from the existing owners over the years. This structure provides qualifying employees with the same rights and benefits without the commitment to purchase shares directly from their own capital.

A few questions to reflect on while considering Indirect Employee Ownership: 

  • Over what period of time do current owners want to sell/gift their shares to the EBT?
  • What percentage of those shares will ultimately be sold?
  • How will the business fund the purchase of shares from the current owners?
  • Will the employees feel a real sense of ownership of the business through this model in comparison with direct ownership?

 

3. Combined Direct and Indirect Ownership

A lot of companies find it difficult to find the perfect fit for their business in just one of the models above. Instead, many of them have adopted a hybrid model combining direct and indirect ownership as a solution. In this model, the EBT often holds a majority of the shares to create secure and stable ownership within the company and then a Share Incentive Plan or a different tax share scheme is used to distribute the remaining shares to the employees. The individuals who are involved in direct share ownership are then able to make capital gains through their ownership, while at the same time, the EBT ensures that there is a clear focus on the long term. To sum up this hybrid model, all employees are able to share in the success regardless of their personal ability to purchase shares and can still be eligible to receive a direct monetary reward.

While considering Combined Direct and Indirect Ownership it’s important to look at the previous questions stated pertaining to each of the models. It’s also important to consider the complexity of the hybrid model and additional administration fits with the scale and capacity of your organization and the proportions of ownership to be held by the EBT vs the proportion to be held by the employees.

Employee Ownership is an extremely effective and established model that has been proven to work across the globe. It has a track record for boosting profitability, increasing productivity, raising job security, and enhancing employee wellbeing. Furthermore, employee owned businesses are seen to be at the forefront of innovation. Implementing EO does not have to be a frustrating and complicated road. With the right quality of thought and effort, EO implementation can be simple and easily tailored to the circumstances of your personal business.

If you would like to learn more about EO and how it can be applied to your business, feel free to get in touch with us. 

Are You Ready For 2020?

November 29th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Are You Ready For 2020?”

New Year, New Goals

Be Investment Ready in 2020

 

In today’s turbulent business environment, not only is gaining investment a crucial task for any business looking to grow but it is also a strenuous challenge. Raising capital is time consuming and takes a lot of drive and focus, which means that day to day business duties can often become neglected if business owners are not careful.

Proper planning and execution will be your saving grace when it comes to raising investment while maintaining a successful business- preparation is key. Investors will hear from a multitude of potential business investments in their time, so you will want to be as prepared as you can in order to convince them that you are the most investment worthy prospect out there. 

Investors are more inclined to work with businesses that have structured and detailed plans; ones that know exactly where they want to go and how they are going to execute further business growth. So as a business owner looking for investment, you will first and foremost want to be able to answer these questions: What type of funding is needed to help you reach your highest potential? Which type of investors are best to provide the type of capital needed? What are you business plans after the funds are raised and how will they be used to scale the business? 

Furthermore, businesses looking for investment should be able to clearly demonstrate strong team relationships, an acute understanding of their market and competition, an easily comprehensible business model, and what essential milestones have been and will be achieved.

With all this to think about and execute properly, wouldn’t it be great if you had a one stop shop for raising investment and capital growth? Evoke Management and Spark! Consulting are here to help you create a step by step guide for creating investment in 2020. These steps include things like creating a perfect and captivating pitch, identifying people of interest, recognising ample growth strategies, initialising 2020 business plans, and even sitting with you during investment meetings to ensure success. By creating solid guidelines on how to execute various strategies and reach your goals and milestones, you’ll be able to show investors that investing in your company would come at only a small risk and has the potential to yield a very high return. 

It’s essential that investors believe in you and your business. Proving you have the drive is just one part of it, the rest is showing that you have the ability to reach your goals and overcome adversity- Evoke Management’s collaboration with Spark! Consulting along with their step by step 2020 investment guide and personal detailed assistance will help you get there. How do you expect to prove to an investor that your business is worth their time if you don’t invest in it first yourself.

 

Let’s make it happen, together

 

To help you bring your business to the next level and get you ready for investment in the new year, Evoke Management, in conjunction with Spark! Consulting, will be hosting an informative 2 hour breakfast session on Tuesday, December 10th, to demystify what being ‘Investor Ready’ really entails.

The session will offer a variety of tools to help you meet your investment goals, such as a step-by-step guide on preparing for investment, a clear understanding of what investors look for in a company, and expert advice from experienced finance and commercial directors.

If your company is looking to raise between £250K- £10m, this session could be your golden ticket to staying ahead of the game in 2020.

 

For queries about the event contact: contact@evokemanagement.co.uk

 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

Tickets:

£49.50 + VAT

Purchase Here

DATE:

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

TIME:

8:30 am to 11:30 am (GMT)

LOCATION:

Home Grown Members Club

44 Great Cumberland Place

London

W1H 7QF

Stop Waiting For Tomorrow

October 4th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Stop Waiting For Tomorrow”

Stop Waiting for Tomorrow

Take Your Business to the Next Level, Today

 

 

Feeling Stuck

As a business leader, do you ever feel like your business is in need of an IV filled with espresso? In today’s turbulent economy, many business owners can often feel like their business has levelled off and that it needs a massive jolt of caffeine to start moving again.

Feeling stuck and stagnant can be wearing, and it is in this trying situation that the ever so common phrase “I’ll do it tomorrow” is often uttered. The use of that phrase can easily distinguish the difference between business leaders and successful business leaders. Successful leaders know that there is no magic caffeine fix for their business. These leaders know that in order to push past their slump and move their business forward, they need to start working today.

Therein lies the problem, starting right then and there isn’t always easy. One thing that a majority of successful business owners have in common is their ability to see the big picture. They are visionaries who are able to see what their success will look like tomorrow. But how do they get there? How do they know where to begin? What do they do when they get stuck?

The secret is to go step by step. There are so many potential avenues to explore in order to achieve growth and like every other business’, your path is unique. The following activities are just some steps that successful business leaders take when they feel flustered, stuck, confused about where to go next, and need help keeping the future in focus.

 

Set Goals and Push Boundaries

Goal setting is one of the most important tasks in the business world, it allows you to clarify your focus and hone in on what you ultimately want to achieve.  It is important to remember that every type of goal is significant, whether it be big or small. That being said, if you are struggling to move your business forward, you need to focus on the types of goals that you are making. Goals that push the lines of your comfort zone and allow you to take calculated risks will help propel you out of your business slump. The more you are willing to stretch and challenge yourself and your company, the more you will have to gain. Setting short and long-term goals will help you measure progress and track achievements and by integrating these goals into your business plan, you will surely be on your way to helping your business reach new levels of success.

 

Make Customer Service a Priority

We live in a world where people talk, a lot. It’s human nature to want to be spoken well of, but in the business world, you have to give in order to receive. Excelling in and making customer service one of the cornerstones of your business will help you stand out amongst the competition. People like to give their business to companies where they feel valued and special. Therefore, it’s important to take a little extra time and make sure you are executing this properly: provide exceptional products or services, ask for and act on feedback, address issues or complaints immediately and thoroughly, and always aim to be accessible and accountable. Retaining desirable clients plays a significant role in the continued success of businesses, because as we all know, a business is nothing without its clients.

 

Commit to Continuous Learning

No matter how much has been achieved, you should remember that there is always more to be learned. The world is constantly changing and it’s impossible to know “everything” when new information and findings are being presented every day. All business leaders and employees alike should open themselves up to learning more and learning continuously, because when applied, the new information could help lead to even greater success. Now, learning is commonly associated with classroom settings, textbooks, long lectures, assignment deadlines, and enough unneeded stress to make anyone cringe, but that isn’t the only form of learning. Today there are so many doors open to us to help advance our knowledge. Tools such as online training, self-paced programs and guides, books, YouTube videos, and LinkedIn are all at your disposal. Businesses can also thrive through the use of collaborative opportunities, hiring outside directors, and mentoring, which are all things that are available at your fingertips. Furthermore, we live in such a diverse world; take the time to learn lessons from those around you and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

 

Delegate to Increase Productivity

Delegation is arguably the most important task to help take your business to the next level. Learning how to delegate properly can be the difference between reaching new heights or burning out completely. Rather than enlisting the help of others, many entrepreneurial leaders are accustomed to acting as an octopus and juggling the myriad of tasks on their own which can be detrimental to any company. Companies need their leaders to lead and it can become difficult to lead when you are running around with a never ending to-do list. Now it’s not to say that some of what you do as a business leader won’t be routine. There are the things that everyone needs to get done: varieties of daily tasks that need to be accomplished in order to keep the business running smoothly. However, this is where delegation is essential. You need to identify what tasks are essential for you to do as a leader and then assign the work that doesn’t necessarily have to be done by you to others in the appropriate positions. The more effective you and those in your company are at completing the tasks, the more potential your business has for success. It’s a challenge to let go of all of the control, but once you overcome it, you will see that you have more time to dedicate to what you do best- growing your business.

 

Keep Pushing to the Next Level

Growth is what fuels success and you can’t be successful without moving forward and conquering what is holding you back, but don’t become discouraged by feeling stuck, we have all been there. Instead, set goals, push boundaries, focus on customer service, learn new things constantly, and delegate appropriately. By implementing practices such as these, you will surely be on your way out of that slump faster than you thought. Don’t wait until tomorrow – sometimes it just takes a set of new eyes to help you find ways you re-energise, grow, and take your business to the next level.

Don’t Thomas Cook It

September 27th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Don’t Thomas Cook It”

Don’t Thomas Cook It

What we can learn from the former travel titan so that we don’t strand those who count on us

How Did We Get Here?

After 178 years of dominating the industry, how exactly did the UK’s largest travel group, Thomas Cook, manage to capitulate at such an alarming rate? 

Since completing a MBA in Business Administration and Aviation in 2017, I have kept a close eye on developments in the aviation and travel sectors during the 21st century. I therefore think it’s appropriate for me to share my reflections on the staggering, yet perhaps foreseeable demise of this industry giant.

Throughout my recent years of interest and research on this topic, I noted what I saw as Thomas Cook’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities – many of which were missed. I believe herein lies a good place for me to begin my postmortem evaluation of the company.  

Thomas Cook was the oldest and one of the largest travel companies in Europe. This, for quite some time, gave Thomas Cook an edge over their competitors. Thomas Cook was able to draw customers in with the affordability of their packages, which were often customised to respond to unique customer needs. Additionally, Thomas Cook was accessible. There were Thomas Cook agencies on nearly every high street, which gave this far-reaching global company a sense of local familiarity – one which will surely be missed. Thomas Cook then continued to defend its crown by continuously increasing brand awareness, whether it be through London’s 2012 Olympics or by becoming sponsors of some of England’s largest football clubs. From Thomas Cook’s track record then, it certainly seemed that the company knew how to grow and maintain the value of its brand.

However, I noticed in 2017 that amongst Thomas Cook’s many strengths, cracks had been appearing for quite some time; and as seen by the events of last week, in the past two years these cracks had grown into deep and cataclysmic ravines. Namely, these cracks were, unwise business deals; an insufficient response to the ever-increasing competition of the travel industry; the persistent acquisition of long-term debts; and the lack of strategic innovation in the face of an online revolution within the sector.

Flawed Business Decisions

To begin my postmortem evaluation, focused strictly within the 21st century,  I need to dissect the last twelve years. In 2007, Thomas Cook merged with MyTravel, which looked as though it was going to be the deal of the century. The deal promised to save the companies millions of pounds per year and offered an opportunity to renew their ability to ward off encroaching internet rivals. This deal however was in fact a ticking time-bomb. Thomas Cook had inadvertently bound itself both, to a company that had only turned a profit once in the past six years, but had also acquired colossal debts, which would prove to the grim reaper that would follow Thomas Cook for the following twelve years. 

In addition to inheriting these lingering debts, in 2011, Thomas Cook doubled down on what was a cornerstone of its past glory. The company merged with The Co-Operative Group, gaining roughly 1,200 additional brick and mortar stores. Being in the midst of an online revolution however, these stores became a liability and closing these stores proved extremely costly for a company that had just handcuffed itself to large debts. Thomas Cook’s mergers were therefore, in a sense, the company’s signature upon its own death warrant.

Fights With Finances

This was further proven when the company narrowly survived a brush with bankruptcy that same year as a result of its two recent mergers and escalating debt. The company’s debt pile had grown immensely and actions needed to be taken quickly in order to save the company from going under. Thomas Cook managed to stay afloat through negotiating some breathing space with its banks and bondholders, and with some emergency cash injections- which for a company already in the hole, was a bold move since this hasty tactic saddled the company with an even larger amount of debt to service in the future. Just two short years later, in 2013, the company survived demise once again by asking its shareholders for extra funds. Their compliance allowed Thomas Cook to live another day, or as we now know, five years. 

It’s important to note here that neither of these brushes with death led to a sustained revival of the company’s fortunes. There were no actionable plans created for the future, just rusty paint-jobs that were doomed to scratch off quickly. 

Thomas Cook played a game of Chutes and Ladders with the grim reaper over the next few years and by 2018 the paint-job that had been layered on were seeming to hold up. Trading was looking good and a promising rise of sales had led to a steady rise of shares, but it wasn’t enough. The company still had a dark cloud of debt looming over their heads. 

External Forces at Play

The final nail in Thomas Cook’s coffin was however, the evolution of a new traveler and the rise of ‘do it yourself’ online holiday bookings which disastrously coincided with unpredictable variable factors such as weather and politics. 

As the online travel industry began to grow, package holidays quickly became a thing of the past. The new generation of travelers liked to march to the beat of their own drum. These individuals were born and raised in the age of the internet; they liked quick, easy, do it yourself solutions and the high-street package holiday chains, like Thomas Cook, were left to feel the ripple of this new online trend. 

It’s not to say that Thomas Cook didn’t make an attempt at joining the online world but their online platforms were operating on a much smaller scale in comparison to their competitors. Management seemed to lack a forward vision, and although I do commend them for staying true to their original brand, companies need to continuously be innovating and adding value in order to stay on top. 

The types of holidays that interest travelers the most has also changed over the past few years. Recent studies show that you are much more likely to find tourists wandering the city streets of Prague or Paris, than relaxing at a remote beach on the coast of Spain. These recluse beach get-aways were what Thomas Cook excelled at, and with this change in traveler preference, a competitive edge was given to newly emerged online platforms such as Expedia, low-cost carriers like EasyJet and RyanAir, and the hotel/resort alternative Airbnb. 

In 2017, even the weather had seemed to turn against Thomas Cook. Heat-waves struck all across the globe and the UK wasn’t left out. Graced with warmer weather and more sunny days, many travelers opted to stay in the UK rather than going abroad. This drastic rise in temperature completely decimated the demand in Thomas Cook’s bookings and caused them to start offloading deals at rock-bottom prices. 

It would be unwise to ignore the consequences that Brexit’s uncertainty has generated within the travel industry as well. In addition to Brexit massively hitting the pound sterling’s buying power abroad, the political chaos worried potential travelers and caused many of them to delay their travels.

The End of an Era

In 2019, Thomas Cook’s inadequate paint job began to peel off for the last time. This past May, the company reported a £1.5 billion loss, with more than £1 billion written off from their 2007 merger with MyTravel. Last month Thomas Cook made its final attempts to release the hold of the grim reaper who now had the company in a choke-hold. The company was thrown a lifeline and agreed to a £450 million deal with its biggest shareholder, Fosun. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough and no lender, including the government, could be found to extend additional funds to Thomas Cook. With its last minute attempts having failed, Thomas Cook’s lifeline snapped and the company finally succumbed to the reapers choke-hold this past week. 

To conclude my postmortem evaluation, past and present research all point towards the same verdict, Thomas Cook was in trouble for a long time and this shutdown was inevitable. The company was destroyed by their lack of a proactive response to changing trends and adaptability. This resistance to innovation coupled with bad business decisions, poor financial planning, and being hurled along by attempting to finance an unfeasible amount of debt, Thomas Cook fell flat on its face and in turn stranded those who counted on them the most. 

Upon my reflections, I can’t help but feel there are certain lessons to be learned from the curious case of Thomas Cook. Would any of this have happened if Thomas Cook had paid attention to the trends occurring and faced its problems immediately and head on, rather than searching for what always seemed to be the easiest and quickest, but extremely temporary, fix? Living to fight another day without long-term strategic responses isn’t really fighting at all. This mentality of fighting without changing is a dangerous one and tends to produce massive blowbacks, which as we saw earlier this week, was ultimately the source of Thomas Cook’s demise.

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