As we start a new year and say goodbye to a torrid 2020, we now more than ever need to be optimistic. Yes, there are many challenges ahead of us, yet at the same time there are also many opportunities, the identifying of which, we need to focus our talents on. Broadening our perspectives and seeking out potential opportunities, be they business or personal, or indeed both should be our guiding lights in the first few months of the new year and beyond.
Stock markets kicked off 2021 at record highs, property prices have not fallen as predicted last year, whilst there has been continued growth across the pharma and tech sectors. Yes, hospitality, the Arts and many more areas have been hit dramatically by the pandemic but with vaccines being rolled out and hopefully the levels on infection receding, we should see these sectors rebuilding themselves in time and emerging more resilient to future economic challenges.
As both Covid-19 and Brexit continue to impinge on our lives, it is incumbent on us to seek out new or revisit existing opportunities. The pandemic has highlighted many vulnerabilities in modern human society, how we do business and the supply chains for these businesses have had a light shone on them in this regard. For decades, manufacturing has been outsourced to the cheapest regions of the world with a diluted knowledge of where exactly materials were being sourced from. Now companies want a better knowledge of where they are sourcing their materials from and will not risk depending on, or retrieving their goods from countries that are not allies or are unreachable during crisis.
It makes sense for manufacturing to move closer to its supply chains and Ireland is well positioned both geographically and politically to seize opportunities in this area as it has done in the past, most notably in the pharma and tech sectors which have emerged as lucrative areas for our nation as a whole. Identifying opportunity and reacting quickly to changes be they economic, political, or otherwise are of the utmost importance to all businesses if they are to be run successfully. Thinking differently, finding solutions where others see only problems, identifying opportunities where others only see setbacks are imperative if we are to combat the challenges that will no doubt face us this year and beyond. The new DFDS ferry service linking Rosslare to Dunkirk and the Stena Line service from Rosslare to Cherbourg are great examples of new thinking at work, offering solutions and creating business all at the same time.
I think it would be fair to say that we have all realised how resilient we are as individuals and as businesses, it is vital not to let negative experiences rule your whole outlook and let gratitude steer you beyond the doom and gloom. As businesses we must always look to the future, to strive to improve, to identify opportunity and then grasp it or as that King of Baseball, Babe Ruth, once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”