Wow, what a month April was. In all senses of the word it was incredibly busy, both on a personal level, business and outside the industry. So as we get our teeth stuck into Spring and we all hope for the start of a long hot Summer like we did last year, this is my quick look back at the month of April and all it entailed.
Brexit delayed, again
First it was March 29th, then extra road was built to facilitate the can being kicked down the road to April 12th. It really was supposed to have been sorted by then, but Brexit was then delayed further to Halloween, October 31st. The headlines write themselves on this one. For me, a 6 month delay to decision which is now causing endless uncertainty and tension is the worst of all worlds.
A short extension, but one granted on condition of a deal being done and the UK leaving would have given the general public the first clear signal that we were actually going to leave and might have led them to feel more confident about spending their money again. A very long delay, say two years, would have had the same effect as it’s more than long enough to allow people to feel confident about spending. That option though would have risked serious discontent in the country at the sheer frustration of what would have been seen as an attempt to stop the whole thing altogether.
The worst option was a medium-length extension, which is what we saw happen. Six months is just about enough time for home owners and businesses to hold off their spending. Most would see six months as long enough to be able to put off their decisions without much of a detrimental effect. For big ticket item industries such as our own, this is exactly what we don’t want. And with the FIT Show coming up, I am pretty sure that this was one subject that organisers, exhibitors and visitors would not have been wanting to talk about.
One thing that did brighten up our lives and distract us from the shambles in London was the simply stunning weather we had just in time for the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. That almost never happens. But we got four solid days straight of blazing sunshine and temperatures that were hotter than most of Europe and even Turkey.
Whether this helped give a little boost to our industry is probably unlikely however. With the fine weather, beaches, parks, bars and pubs were packed with people trying to make the most of it. I think the idea of spending time inside a window showroom instead was probably last on the list of things to do that weekend.
I simply cannot find a trend for business activity at the moment that encompasses the overall picture accurately. During each month I speak to a wide variety of people in various positions in various companies in all sorts of locations in the country and in all honesty its a really mixed bag. Some report that they are busy, but they are in the south of the UK where purchasing power is much better. Some say they are quiet for the time of year and some say they’re steady but not breaking any records. It’s a majorly mixed bag.
Unfortunately it’s all down to that B-word again. Until an actual concrete decision is made, we are going to continue to see volatility in business activity. I think before long this is going to have a damaging effect on businesses in our industry. Some will be OK, but those in areas where the economy isn’t firing and home owners are holding on to their money then it could be a real struggle.
At our place we’re in that steady bracket. We’re not where we thought we might have been at the start of the year, and we’re not breaking records. But it’s certainly not like the 2008 crisis either. I firmly believe, as do others I have spoken to, that once Brexit is over the line in whatever sort of fashion that is, certainty will actually be able to return and people can start making some financial decisions. Its perfectly possible that a huge wave of initial spending could be unlocked if we could just get Parliament to get their arse in gear.
How DGB did
On a personal level, I could not have asked for a busier month, and unfortunately DGB took a hit because of it. Before I explain all the things that have happened, here is a quick chart showing the key stats:
This was the first month in a very long time which saw a dip like this. However, I do believe I had a few very good reasons! The 2018 NFA Winners Event was held on April 27th, which meant I was spending much more time on that and getting the day ready, which went well by the way. But also meant I didn’t have the time to write as often as I normally do. To add to the stress, we actually moved house the day before the Winners Event! Trust me, that was not by choice, but a badly timed fluke. So the day before the awards, which I would have taken off to prepare calmly for it, was spent hauling everything out of one house and into another. So much of April for me was taken up with getting a house move ready.
Some of you may also know that we’re expecting our first child. We’re due to see our little bundle in early July, so, as you can imagine with a house move, we have also been busy in getting what we need to make sure we have a decked out nursery in the new home. I appreciate that sounds like a lot of excuse making, but I think they’re pretty good excuses!
The good news is that we’re over April, raring to go in May, and with the FIT Show coming up in a few weeks time, there will be absolutely reams of content to bring you.
Top 5 posts
Here is a list of the top 5 most read posts on DGB published in April:
Looking towards May
For the industry, the big event will be of course the FIT Show on May 21st to 23rd at the NEC in Birmingham. Whilst the event itself is important, it is the conversations being had, the products being announced, the meetings ongoing that are going to matter and that I want to get stuck into. From a creative point of view, these events always give me a huge amount of content ideas to get my teeth stuck into. To give it some context, the FIT Show should give me about a month’s worth of subjects to cover. Come and say hi if you see me!
Outside of the industry we have local and perhaps more importantly European Elections. This won’t affect our industry all that much, but could change the complexity on Brexit once again, so something to keep an eye on. The European Elections take place on the last day of the FIT Show.
So, for me it’s about getting back on track on DGB and making up some lost ground, and lets hope for a busy and profitable month for the whole industry!
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