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Barth Consulting: Year in Review

I remember it well. It was December 2019 and there was nothing but hope in the air. We had the general election, the UK was moving forward at pace, and I was excited for what a great year 2020 was set to be.

We all know what happened then.

Despite the challenges we’ve all faced, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons, developed new skills, and adapted my business and home life to try and keep moving forward.

I’m writing this year in review for two reasons:

  • To show that it’s not all been bad and there’s still a lot that we can take away from 2020
  • To show you more about the person behind Barth Consulting, and what 2021 has in store

2020: the early months

Keen to hit the ground running, I attended my first Fore Business networking event in Bedford on 7th January. Networking is a key part of my marketing strategy and as a keen golfer this seemed like a great way to meet new business owners and grow my network.

Continuing the networking theme in January, I went to the PropSki week in Chamonix from 18th-25th January. This involved 450 property professionals networking and skiing on the slopes in France. I stayed at La Follie Douce Hotel where there was a welcome party, race night, auction, raffle, leaving party, and lots of networking.

2020 was beginning to become everything I was hoping it would be.

We followed this trip up with a family skiing holiday, again in France, on 8th February. By this time Covid19 was dominating the news.

For now, we could carry on as normal so on 25th February I attended International CONFEX at Excel London to get more valuable networking done.

The coming of coronavirus

By 10th March, which was International Women’s Day, everything was cancelled.

On 15th March I took my last trip to see my mum on Isle of Wight before the looming lockdown. Thankfully for her, this is now one of the very few areas currently in tier 1 of the new restrictions.

Then everything changed.

Boris Johnson gave his speech on 24th March announcing the lockdown. A moment in history none of us could have anticipated happening in our lifetimes.

We had to adjust, we had to make big decisions, and we needed to remain reactive to the situation.

The conference centre at Excel London I’d been in only a few weeks before was turned into a Nightingale Hospital. A moment that made the scale of the pandemic even more tangible.

Zooming into the new world

Zoom. In the beginning most either loved it or hated it. Some, including me, were resistant and still on the fence. Soon after it became clear we had no choice but to adapt to these new technologies and try and do business the best we could.

I had my first Zoom on 14th April.

No one talked about business initially, it seemed less important now. Conversations were all about how people were feeling, how people were volunteering their newfound time, and about what financial help was available.

The summer reprieve

As lockdown took effect and infection rates fell across the UK, things opened up again and it was time to get back on the horse and try and make things happen.

I officially joined the Fore Business networking group and attended my first business event since March on 19th June. There were 25 attendees and once again a lot of appetite for face to face meetings.

On 12th July I went to a golf society weekend in Coventry – we were the first guests at the hotel since March. We were well looked after, and everyone behaved themselves. It was nothing like the world as it was, but things were getting nearer to normality.

Despite the positive steps back to some face to face events, Zoom networking was now the norm.

By the end of summer, we needed a break from the screen and managed staycations in August and September which were welcome breaks.

Working from home with family

For most of the year we’ve had three adults working from home, all doing individual Zooms, so credit to BT who haven’t let us down!

My daughter runs an online business, Mood Pants, which benefitted from the rise in online shopping seen throughout the pandemic, so from April-June I helped out with her business operations whilst we were all working from home. It was great to see the success she had and continues to have with this venture.

Getting ready for growth

Come September, back at Barth Consulting we were focusing on the long term. We wanted to get a lot of foundational work done for the business that would give us a strong platform to grow from.

We restarted the new website which we had decided to pause in March and then launched it in October along with new branding too.

Marketing was now a key part of our focus and in September I took the plunge and did my first Tik Tok video aimed at young people titled “how I make my money.” It’s important to inspire the next generation as well as focus on the next phase of our own journey.

We continued to promote the new website throughout October and November which now gives us a fresh new resource to tell you all you need to know about us and how we can help you with capital allowances and R&D tax credit relief.

What’s next?

In 2021 I expect the government to continue to support UK businesses with generous tax breaks through schemes like capital allowances and R&D tax credits.

R&D tax credits are currently set at 230% with no sign of that ending so if you’re being innovative, inventive and improving your products or processes in response to this pandemic you get approximately £100 cashback for every £300 invested in R&D – not a bad ROI. We are going to see some very interesting business ideas borne out of this pandemic!

Construction and property is going through an interesting transition as more people are working from home. We will see new types of workspaces emerge, new retail and leisure offerings, and new jobs created as a result.

At Barth Consulting I am optimistic that we will be busy working for new property investors, landlords, and tenants taking new space for their exciting new ventures backed by R&D government support.

We’re looking forward to a big year in 2021 and personally I’m going to use the lessons learnt this year to make next year as positive as I thought 2020 would be a year ago.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself, I have a new perspective about what’s important in life, and what we can achieve if we put our minds to it.

Things are looking up already. On December 5th I attended my first virtual Christmas party. There was a singer, a quiz and a raffle. It worked well and was good fun – who’d have thought it?

Wishing you a happy Christmas and New Year. All the best for 2021.

Louise Barth, founder & director