“Twenty twenty one is going to be a much better year after experiencing the ravages of Covid in 2020”, they all said. We all thought that as well and assumed it cannot get any worse after having so many months of lockdown and losing more than half a year’s worth of work in 2020. We entered January 2021 with a lot of optimism as we had surprisingly booked a lot of work for the month that is usually the quietest. We would be back on our feet in no time if the year continued in this way. Wrong! Another stricter lockdown was announced in early January and we lost everything again. Running a business during Covid is a nightmare as you have no guarantees of anything, except challenges.
The rest of the year continued along these same lines and it became an emotional rollercoaster with having really good months followed by extremely poor months. Every time that you thought you were on a roll and were making headway, business would disappear and you would have to start all over again. And just when you thought that this Covid thingy was a challenge, along came Free Shopping in KZN. Oh my goodness, was this a disaster for everyone including the shoppers as everyone soon discovered that groceries and everyday consumables were extremely hard to come by. Once again we had to start again. Two steps forward and five steps back.
Business the world over had lost confidence and companies were scared to commit to anything so most of the work was put on hold and if it went ahead then it was at the last minute. Try doing monthly forecasts during Covid, what a joke. Trying to remodel your products to suit a uninspired client base became a challenge but as long as we kept trickling over then we remained confident. Just being in business meant that you had succeeded and were amongst the minority as most had unfortunately gone under.
We learnt a lot about adapting and trying out new products and generally just doing what we thought would bring in some work. We even brought in new clients and by the end of the year we were even boarding aeroplanes and were jetting off to cover events around South Africa as well as overseas. And even that was a challenge as trying to get visas when most of the world thinks South Africa is the centre of the plague is a tough task indeed. And then try sitting upright for a day and a half with your mask on all the time. As if travel wasn’t hard enough without throwing in something to help your claustrophobia reach new levels.
There were of course some positive moments and we have ended the year on a high after a couple of unbelievably busy months so we are still in business and are hopeful for a successful 2022. All of ODM’s staff were worn out by now and all just needed to take a break and step away from the pressures of surviving another tough year. We all had done extremely well to get to where we are right now and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s amazing commitment. We wish all our clients a safe and prosperous festive season and look forward to bringing some exciting new products to the market in the new year.
Below are some highlights from 2021.