The one thing we have been able to do a lot of over the past year and a bit is talk.
Either locked-down in our homes, walking for miles and miles, or catching up with friends and family over a video call, talking has been our go-to activity of choice.
We have been encouraged to talk, to chat, to share, to tell others how we feel and also to listen as others discuss what’s going on with them. It has helped us get through some very dark times and, hopefully, we continue to do it.
But we’re now at the point where we’re going to have to back our words up with actions.
I’m thinking about all the times we’ve discussed how sad it is that so and so shop or pub has been forced to close for good because of the pandemic.
Now, I’m not saying all store or hospitality closures are a direct result of COVID-19 restrictions – plenty of businesses that require footfall have been clinging on by their finger nails for many years.
However, the pandemic has been particularly cruel on businesses who have been barred from opening or operating as usual by government restrictions.
Naturally, this has led to an outpouring of sympathy from the general public. We seem to all possess an innate sense of fairness so while the tough times have been shared by everyone, some have had it tougher than others (usual caveat, from a business perspective).
So now we’re in a position where the United Kingdom is opening back up and we’re able to do most things that we could do way back in the mists of time in early March 2020.
And how will we react to that?
The talk has all been about not being able to wait to get back to the pub, or to visit that cute little independent shop that has been closed all year.
No doubt for a few weeks or months people will stay true to their word. Getting a table in a bar or restaurant will be a nightmare and the queues to get into Primark (yes, I know it is not a cute independent) will stretch around the block.
But what happens after that? As I said earlier, running a business that needs people to come through its door has been tricky for some time.
We need to decide what we want. If we want places to visit for a drink or to eat then we need to go them regularly.
If we want the option of trying before we buy, whether that’s clothes or other goods then we need to make sure we give them our business.
The narrative is that people want these things. But, equally, never judge someone on what they say, but what they do.
It is good to talk – please don’t stop – but where business is concerned, actions speak louder than words.