Bill Wolsey is a proper business hero of mine. He runs the Beannchor Group. Never a man looking for headlines, Bill built a hugely successful hotel and restaurant group from the ground up through the troubles in Northern Ireland. He loves his people and he cares deeply about them and his community. Read the interview with the Irish Times from June 2018. It pre-dates his award as EY Entrepreneur of the Year later that year. He talks straight, leads from his heart. Bill does not seek praise or acclaim but he is a passionate leader.
Last month the Beannchor Group had to lay off 800 people. In a week. They had never laid anyone off in 42 years. It was, understandably, Bills proudest boast. He runs one of the best businesses in the country and has done so through bombings, recessions (plural), sectarianism, threats and all manner of challenges. The Covid crisis has simply floored his business. It is cold comfort but I know for sure that Bill and Beannchor will rise again from this. The best businesses in Ireland the world are being challenged in ways that they have never been. We will get through it together. As the conversation moves to the "post Covid" planning, we are all going to have to reconnect and help each other up. Many of us still have vivid and painful memories of the financial crisis. We have the scars but we also have the skills. The difference this time is that it's not an "us" and "them" scenario. No time for finger pointing. No time for blame or recrimination or pettiness.
Whilst some columns on our personal balance sheets (financial security, business risk, net worth) are facing huge challenges, other columns (family connection, goodwill towards others, compassion) are on the up. We need to keep our perspective. We all have the ability to overcome these challenges and the Beanchorr Group and others will prove again to be the great businesses they are. I am looking forward to my next visit to the Merchant Hotel already.
Keep your heads up. Keep your hearts strong. Kudos to Virgin for their ad. Take a look and mind yourselves and your people. https://youtu.be/T3Eom0ZmkSA
John Hogan is Managing Partner at Leman Solicitors and Head of the Real Estate team. We are available to discuss any legal issues that may arise for your business during this time of uncertainty. For further information, please contact John or any of our team on 01 6393000 or visit www.leman.ie.