So, turns out I am supposed to be worried about Corona Virus after all (see previous blog post for reference).
I am going to kick off with a couple of disclaimers, if that is OK? (well I am anyway)
- This is a blog for property investors and business owners, so is somewhat “capitalist” in it’s nature in normal circumstances. This post is by no means belittling the travesty of lost lives, or the impact this virus is going to have for a while in the normal persons life. However it is coming from my angle as a property investor and business owner, designed as a read for those doing (or aspiring to do) the same.
- I am not a doctor (despite the fact I think I would be a pretty ravishing one). I am not giving out any medical advice, as I don’t know any, and I am incredibly inspired by the work globally that the medical professions are doing at the front line. I am a numbers person in business and in life, and I am making all my judgements on this based solely (rightly or wrongly) on that basis.
OK – so let me kick off.
Regardless of your views on COVID-19 – and I will share some of mine later – it is here, and it is leaving a dirty great impact in it’s wake as it works it’s way through the world.
What that impact will be exactly, nobody knows.
However, as property investors, as business owners, and as people – we have choices to make.
Do we hibernate? Do we wait? Do we complain about what this will do to our business? Do we mitigate the impact? How do we survive this in both life and business?
Can I share what I have decided? (I am anyway)
I am going to get really busy (from relative isolation) in a number of ways. This has actually sharpened my focus which will have an impact very quickly (even by the time the COVID-19 madness is under control I expect) :
- Don’t panic – we are literally all in this together.
- Take swift but essential action. What costs are non-essential at these times? What can we renegotiate (both personally and in business)? When uncertain about what exactly may come in, it is important to mitigate on what is going out. What doesn’t need to be paid today can wait. (as long as you are not making someone else suffer is my metric here)
- I have identified my “blind spots” – who are likely to be non-payers in the business. How can we work with them? What loans do we have that can be repaid or renegotiated?
- We are pushing sales. Properties where sales are going through we are pushing hard to get them over the line before any hard enforcement. Rentals, we are offering incentives to get tenants moved in ASAP and rents paid. Money in the bank is key during this time.
- Purchases we have going through, we are waiting. I have a feeling on where I think the market will go (more later) – but for the next 4-6 weeks I am going to focus on delivery of what we have, sustainability and progress. Growth will come very soon after.
- I am keeping on top of government updates (grants, loans and financial measures), and ignoring social media hysteria and the opinion of Dave from down at the gym, who got one GSCE but has somehow become a specialist in Virology and the spread of disease, an economist and a politician who is disgraced we are not in lockdown (I would quite like these people to be). There is allegedly a financial package for businesses being announced later today – I will be keeping my eyes on this.
- People are important – I want to make sure they are safe, and that they can logistically work from home, if this is enforced. We have been looking at the practicality of this for a few days now – and I am in discussion with valued members of the team on how this will practically work. We want to make sure the people are healthy and safe, but we also want to make sure that they have a job to come back to because the business has survived. My intentions are to lose nobody, in fact I have a new starter on April 1st who if logistics will allow, and they are happy, we will honour.
We also want to make sure this isn’t them (above)….as many businesses surviving will depend on the continuation of work, or bailouts, and only one of them I can influence.
- I am getting creative, and offering value. How can you reach more people with an increased amount of time. I am a genuine believer that if I give more during this period (this blog as an example) that when things very quickly return to normality (which I hope/believe they will) it will be remembered and the business will flourish. I believe now, more than ever, selfishness and greed will not help. We all need to help each other, with positivity, support, honesty, empathy and humour. If this blog helps someone in any way, it was worth taking some time to write it (at a time many others will tell me I shouldn’t).
I think the help you give at this time will benefit your business ten-fold when the “good times” return. And before you start, no help is truly selfless, even if it “only” made you feel good you got something from it. So lets all as a bare minimum aim for feeling better, and you will actually see business’ benefits on the other side (IMO).
So you’re going to be seeing/hearing a lot more from me (yay) – especially as I have some increased time on my hands……..
So this is what I am doing because of the virus.
What do I see the impact being.
Well my honest answer is “it depends”. My even more honest answer is “fuck knows?!”.
I had hundreds of messages on social media the last few days saying “Danny, aren’t you scared?”
Weirdly, my answer has been, nope.
Don’t get me wrong I am properly nervous. For me (a bit), but more for others who I know will react and struggle, and for the reaction that I think is going to create ripples in the market.
But I am not scared. Want to know why – don’t you?
– Firstly I take comfort (as weirdly as it sounds) that this is happening to everyone. It means it is a level playing field to a degree, and there is going to have to be some synergy and collaboration to pull us all through the worst. Also countries for the first time in my lifetime are working globally together it seems, and territoriality has, temporarily it seems, taken a back seat. Governments globally seem to be hell bent on protecting the economy AND its people – that is a line I LOVE to see.
– Secondly – I don’t think the property market is going to feel this for very long. There was a general lack of stock on the market prior to this happening, and more buyers than property. A price crash will only come IF a lot more stock comes on the market (forced to sell), or all buyers exit (no finance options). I don’t see either happening for reasons below….
Lack of finance options – all countries are slashing interest rates and freeing up funds via lenders to stimulate the economy. A lack of finance shouldn’t be an issue quickly.
Sellers needing to sell – again, I think this will pass quickly enough that most should be OK (fingers crossed for them)
– Thirdly, I back myself. I have the skills and the experience that if I had to start again, from zero, that I could and I would still succeed. In fact probably quicker this time around.
Now to this Virus thing.
Again, I am not a doctor, I am an opinionated numbers lover. I am a massive analyst. I think I am pretty reasoned (maybe a little hard), and believe in conspiracy but don’t obsess. Quite the tinder profile bio ha ha. “And this is me…….”
Let me go on record as saying, this is horrific, any death is not nice, any illness and business challenge is terrible, but I think this is hyped to the max. Why? I do not know, and I could be completely wrong, but as an analytical numbers guy the reaction does not match the event (to date).
I am morbidly obsessed with the below site, sharing live updates as to the global Corona position.
I have used China as the metric, for a couple of reasons, it started there, and secondly, it’s bloody massive population.
China largely recovered in circa 12 weeks (although there is some rumour that it may well come back, hopefully we are prepared with immunity and a vaccination by then). Stores and travel lines are back open. As a country, it has started to recover economically, and now looks comparatively like it is booming (there’s a conspiracy theory to this but I won’t go there)
So China as the metric. 1.4 billion population and 81,000 confirmed cases to date (number of cases per day have fallen, today is 21) gives a confirmed rate of around 0.00005%. Deaths (horrible) are 3.7% of those confirmed cases to date. I don’t know what 3.7% of 0.005% is, but I know it’s small.
AGAIN I AM NOT JUSTIFYING OR BELITTLING DEATHS – I am talking about whether the reaction is right…….and the impact it has had.
Whilst I know that there are huge variables here, if we take China as the metric, and use the UK’s population on an annual basis.
66 million x 0.00005% = 3300 people who will be confirmed cases
3300 * 3.7% = 122 who will die
(If we use the current global average of 8% that increases to 264 deaths. The Germans have an average of less than 0.25% – we need to investigate what those guys are doing, they are made of steel)
If we compare this with the normal flu, this has an annual average (granted the above hasn’t finished by any stretch) of 600 deaths. In 2008/2009 it is estimated to have caused 13,000. I never even knew about it, and we can vaccinate against this. Mind.Blown.
So, what do I think we are scared of?
The unknown, without a doubt. We are so scared because we weren’t ready, we dont know how to deal with this, and we don’t know what it will become.
My honest opinion is that it is already everywhere. I am in self isolation in Dubai (hard to feel sorry for I know) , because I have felt pretty grim for a couple of days (but not too major) and I will follow the advice of other people to try and do my part.
The numbers don’t show those that have it and don’t even realise, and those that aren’t getting tested (meaning that the spread is much higher in my opinion but the death rate percentages are much lower).
If you feel ill then follow the advice, go to the hospital only if you need to (40,000 out of 41,000 people tested didn’t have it in the UK in the first round of tests, don’t be those people please, they will create the crisis)
Stop sharing sensationalism and negativity. Be clear on what you want from the news, 24/7 news has a lot to answer to in my opinion. Look after yourself, and your loved ones. Focus on getting through it and not dwelling on it. 12 weeks of pain I think, followed by some recovery, followed by the rest of your life.
The spread is in my opinion, here, hard to prevent, and more widespread than we will ever know.
The deaths are sad but hopefully will stay minimal.
The reaction is incredible, and the thing that scares me the most in this whole event.
Let us spread good news, successes and positivity at what is a challenging time.
I genuinely believe, WE, have the choice to make this better or worse, more so very possibly than the science.
People will win in the end, I am sure of that.