Yes: 27th October, 2007 saw the formation of Kepstorn and so, arithmetically, it is thirteen years since the start of the business but, in the current circumstances, I’m not sure that I want to refer to the number “thirteen” – let’s just say that this marks the third anniversary of the second decade of the business.
I, like many others, have been focusing on the basics over the past six to eight months – keeping my head down and ploughing on, hoping that, when I raise it again, the landscape will have changed. As a result, I haven’t been in touch and, obviously, haven’t been out and about visiting clients, contacts and friends; none of us has! That set me to thinking about what that meant about life, today.
Strange times, but I find it interesting how many people and businesses have managed to pivot to deal with the current crisis. The flexibility that is part and parcel of starting, developing and growing a business really is far broader than many people appreciated. Yes, entrepreneurs could spot gaps in the market; yes, they could develop niche businesses where others didn’t see an opening; yes, they could take a lateral approach to a time-honoured process. What the current crisis has shown is that flexibility is multi-faceted. An ability to think and act flexibly translates into all aspects of business life, from dealing with what is to be expected to coping with what is quite simply beyond anyone’s weirdest nightmares!
Who would have thought, a year ago, that Brexit and/or the US elections would not rank at the very top of the priorities of everyone for the coming weeks and months. Be careful what you wish for (it seems that we are fated “to live in interesting times”)!
That said, adversity of this magnitude is a great leveller. We all need to look out for our family, friends and communities; what had been the increasingly “global” horizon of all our lives has suddenly shrunk, sometimes to the four walls within which we live. That “levelling”, however, has also brought advantages. The overwhelming resources that large entities brought to their sectors in the past are not necessarily the determinant of success in the current climate.
The forced “isolation” of large numbers of us is not, in the Twenty-first Century, the impediment to the entrepreneurial spirit that it would have been, even a generation ago. Because of the entrepreneurs of the past two decades or so, we can still share experiences, get advice and guidance, develop ideas, and produce solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow. Now, more than ever, we need those who view things differently, who join dots that others cannot see to step up and re-imagine the world as we know it. This is usually a team effort, requiring the input of a wide array of expertise from those best placed to provide the specialist knowledge for the task.
Thirteen years ago, I started a new venture just as the UK witnessed the first run on a bank in more than a century and in the months preceding the financial crash – lucky, or what?! Here we are, now, in a situation that could be far more damaging to the lives of so many more people than the crisis of 2008. To get us all through this, we need a dynamic and productive economy. We need entrepreneurs to do what it is that they are hard-wired to do: innovate, experiment, create and succeed. The fact that we may be restricted in physical contact doesn’t prevent all of the parts of the machine that produces change working together towards that goal. Thirteen years ago, I started Kepstorn with a laptop and a mobile phone. That was an unheard-of basis for a corporate law practice; now they are all that we use!
I can’t finish without the usual quotation. I think that it obviously has to be Plato: “necessity is the mother of invention”. Some will bemoan the current changes; some will even wait for things to return to “normal”; and some will just grasp the opportunity that this presents to do things differently.
I hope that you stay safe and well, as sane as can reasonably be expected in the circumstances and positive about the future. The future is all that we have to look forward to; we need to make it fit our expectations, not expect it to meet our needs.