SEPTEMBER 19, 2020:
The Covid-19 pandemic has touched all of our lives this year, in one form or another.
It has had an absolutely devastating impact on some people’s health, wealth and happiness, while for others it’s been a massive disruption to their family routine and work/life balance.
Through no fault of our own, we’ve all been in it together to a lesser or greater degree. But the way in which people have reacted to these ‘unprecedented times’ has differed dramatically.
Some have taken the glass-half-empty approach and spiralled into a state of depression and despair, unable to see a way forward.
Others have adopted a more pragmatic stance, feeling that where one door closes, another could be opening – and have set about trying to find it.
For my business portfolio, which is predominantly in the leisure industry, the timing of lockdown could hardly have been worse.
We were about to embark on the final phase of an ambitious multi-million pound expansion at the Waterworld resort in Stoke-on-Trent, and were looking forward to a bright new era.
Suddenly, not only were we forced to close the doors of our water park, health clubs and indoor mini golf courses, but construction workers had to down tools as well. Everything was put on hold, indefinitely.
Eventually, of course, we did reopen – although to this day I still fail to comprehend why the Government felt able to allow pubs to reopen before indoor gyms and fitness centres. It seemed nonsensical, and grossly unfair.
But at moments like these, it’s crucial to use your time wisely; to hold your nerve, stay true to your beliefs, and channel your frustration and pent-up ambition into the things which you can control.
That’s precisely what we did. Lockdown gave us the chance to carry out a series of improvements to the interior of Waterworld, so it was looking brighter and better than ever when the public returned.
Some of the measures put in place to maximise safety ahead of reopening, such as restricted numbers, timed visitor slots, and a one-way system around the resort, have been a big success.
We are also pressing ahead – albeit on an amended timescale – with plans to open a second Adventure Mini Golf complex, this time next door to Waterworld, as well as a huge new three-storey M Club. Both should be opening now in a matter of weeks.
I’ve always preached the importance of believing in yourself – being motivated, taking your chances, and never giving up.
It’s a magic formula which allows you to change the impossible to possible. But it will only truly bear fruit if you are prepared to take risks.
Six months on from the start of lockdown, we still don’t truly know what the future has in store for us. Is there a post-Covid world round the corner, or will we have to adapt and accept that the disease is now just part of our world?
Everything carries a degree of risk right now. But families still want fun leisure time, and after being cooped up at home for so many weeks this summer, health and fitness facilities have never been more valued.
Our numbers at Waterworld and M Clubs aren’t yet back to pre-Covid levels, but they are both performing relatively well again, so there are plenty of reasons for optimism.
It was former US president Theodore Roosevelt who said ‘It’s better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all’, and I believe that is completely true.
Risk is an essential element of enterprise; take your chances, and don’t be afraid of failure.
If things don’t go to plan, just pick yourself, go again, learn from your mistakes, and never give up until you get to your end goal.
Because if you spend your life in a world of ‘what if?’, it’s a sure-fire recipe for regret.
Live feed and links
Want to work with Mo