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A Year Since Lockdown - Matthew Sanders

Today we're talking to Matthew Sanders who is the owner and CEO of Zoek, an online jobs board. The business is based in Cheshire and currently helps job seekers and hirers in the UK, USA and India.

This week marks a year since lockdown began and the reality of the pandemic hit the UK. What are your memories of that first day? 

I remember it being a warm, sunny day and feeling very fortunate to have an outdoor space at home. I also remember wondering how long the lockdown would last, and not for one minute thinking it would be 12 months. 

What actions did you take to save/change/pivot/support your business?

Initially, we slightly reduced salaries at all levels. However, this was only a temporary measure and all staff have now been fully repaid. I am a strong believer in survival through growth. Therefore, we used the disruption as an opportunity to push forward with overseas expansion into the US and India.

Name any positive outcomes of the last year for Zoek? 

I believe we have positioned ourselves well for the expected economic upturn, with us showing record turnover recently. 

We have also worked hard to improve the structure of our website and related SEO marketing. Finally, I am very pleased that staff moralel remains good despite the unprecedented events we have all experienced. 

What do you most look forward to doing IN BUSINESS as we slowly move out of lockdown? 

I look forward to us continuing our strong growth in the UK and internationally, as well as making more of a profit! 

I am also looking forward to seeing staff back in work, both from a business and personal point of view.

What are your predictions for business generally in late 2021 into 2022? 

Working in recruitment, we have seen huge disruption across many markets. As such, I predict unemployment will sadly reach around 7 million in the UK this year. 

For businesses, I think it will be the end of 2022 before things have fully returned to normal. 

Finally, I think we will see working from home become much more normal. I think many business owners have been surprised by how smoothly they have made this transition.

Name one person who has been a lockdown hero for you over the last year? 

That would have to be my 72-year-old mother. She is an ex-nurse and has been looking after my teenage nephew on her own during lockdown.

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