Facing the challenges of job loss
The announcement by Dairy Crest of the likely closure of its dairy plant at Fenstanton as reported by the Cambridge News (see http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/200-jobs-face-axe-at-dairy-in-Fenstanton-17042012.htm) is a further economic blow. The company says that it is having to respond to an “extremely challenging” market for liquid milk and that this decision will help “protect the future of the dairies side of the business.” Like so many other industry sectors, the dairy market is changing all the time and those operating in it have to respond, often ruthlessly.
The 250 jobs now at risk at Fenstanton represent just 4% of the Dairy Crest workforce and so, from a corporate perspective, this may seem a small cost to pay for the return of securing the future of the overall business –for the time being at least. However, for each of those jobs at risk, there is a major personal challenge for an individual, for a family as their current regular income will end. Having been part of a similar mass redundancy before Christmas (as a decision was taken at a seemingly remote political level that it was expedient to close the service my organisation had been delivering) I think I can understand some of the feelings the individuals working at the Fenstanton Dairy now feel.
What choices do they have? How should they respond?
Dairy Crest may be able to offer some jobs at other sites, but for most at Fenstanton, such relocation will not be practical. Some will hope to secure alternative employment. After all, the Cambridge area, has been bucking the general downward economic trend. But, as companies start to grow again after the downturn, they will do cautiously with minimal risk, seeking to optimise their use of existing resources before acquiring more which may include taking on more staff. New quality job opportunities will still be scarce and remain so for some time to come.
Therefore, many are likely to consider “taking the plunge” and start working for themselves, start their own businesses. This is a major step to take. It is vitally important that such people seek and receive sound advice.
There is much to think about. What is the product or service I will be producing and what particular benefits will it bring to my customer? What competition am I likely to face and why should people buy from me rather than the competition? How much money am I going to need to set the business-up and provide the working capital I need until sales income starts coming in? From where is that money going to come? Is this a stable market or, like the market Dairy Crest are responding to, one that is prone to change?
Sound business planning is essential. Help is at hand and attending one of our business planning workshops will start the essential thought processes (see http://www.bizplans.co.uk/our-services/planning-for-the-future/business-plan-seminar/ )