I don’t know about you, but the last five months have been a real roller coaster for the AdMarula team. From suddenly having to work remotely, schooling kids at home, to doing virtual client meetings and eventually dealing with the reality and adjustments of returning back to the office, life has certainly thrown us a few curve balls. While this time has forced many of us to stretch ourselves further than we ever thought possible, it has also shown us what we can achieve when we have no other choice.
And it’s this realisation, that I think will have a profound impact on how many of us approach life, business and our futures going forward. Yes, it has been (and still is) scary fearing for our own health and that of our loved ones. Fear of the unknown, what the future will bring. I find myself wondering, will there ever be a vaccine? Will we ever travel long-haul for holidays again? Will I need to fly to Durban and Johannesburg for client meetings again? Are business networking events a thing of the past?
Now that we’ve seen how things can be done differently, and more efficiently at that, it’s hard to return to the old normal. Perhaps this crisis really is the universe’s way of telling us to wake up, to change our bad habits, to simplify our lives, to be kinder to the environment and to our planet, to make time for ourselves and those we love, to stop being greedy, and to see the beauty in every day. Because our health is everything. Once that is gone, nothing else matters.
Having said that, I have definitely in the last week or so noticed that life is slowly starting to return to a new normal. Once empty cafes now have quite a few customers, hair dressers are open and busy, and when I tried to book a place for myself and my family to go away somewhere local over the long weekend EVERYTHING was fully booked. That’s encouraging. Not only does it mean our local tourism and hospitality businesses are finally making a turnover again, but it also shows how resilient humans are. We have an inherent desire to explore, live and be around other people. We just need to keep in mind that this thing isn’t over yet and the rules, although they seem unreasonable and frustrating at times, are there for a reason. For our safety.
Back to business: naturally and like most other businesses, AdMarula has also felt the pinch of the economic crisis that we now find ourselves in, with Travel being by far our hardest hit vertical. But five months in and we are already seeing a doubling in transactions from last month, and with local leisure travel given the green light we remain optimistic that our local tourism sector will start to make a recovery after months of lockdown.
The entire AdMarula team, management included, have taken a 25% pay cut since the start of the lockdown in order to preserve cash and jobs and I am glad to say that so far we have not needed to retrench people or take any other drastic measures besides keeping our spending down. We have also done an intensive business development drive during the lockdown period which has resulted in several new clients coming on board. You can read more about these in our ‘Featured offers’ section further down.
Finally I would like to pass on my condolences to anyone in our business community (publishers, clients, partners, suppliers and friends) who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you have lost loved ones, lost your business, are suffering financially or been ill yourself, we wish you strength and recovery in the coming months. This storm too shall pass, and we will find light in the darkness once again. As per the words of the Dalai Lama: “Choose optimism, it feels better”.
All the best for the rest of August, stay warm and stay safe.
Daniel Gross – CEO