Fallen tree and spring flowers

Remember the Great Storm that swept across the UK in 1987? I do – vividly.

In particular I remember driving down to Woldingham – the village where I grew up – and seeing the great gaps it had torn out of the landscape.

It was like seeing a face I loved with half its front teeth knocked out. It was shocking – and saddening.

Until I went back, just a few months later.

Because in the spaces those old trees had left, new growth was already filling the gaps. All the plants that had been lost in the shadow of the old giants were thriving, growing, climbing towards the light.

And I like to think that’s exactly what’s happening now.

Room for growth


We’ve seen – and are still seeing – the fall of giant companies, household names that were such a part of the landscape we took them for granted. But because they were big, slow, and inflexible, they’ve fallen – just like those grand old trees in Woldingham.

But when I talk to smaller businesses – and I do, a lot – the picture is rather different. Most are doing well. Some are growing faster than they’d ever dreamed possible. And the dominant mood is upbeat, confident, and positive. Anyone who attended this year’s ISSBA show in Ipswich, as I did, will almost certainly agree.

Which suggests that for smaller businesses, run by people who are ready, willing and able to adapt to change. the great economic tempest that’s swept away so many great institutions could be just what they needed.

A chance to grow – and to fill the yawning gaps in our economy with new, vital, businesses that are truly fit for the 21st century.

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