Man: Are you OK? You don’t look too good.
Woman: Yeah, yeah, I’m getting through the day, but … I don’t think I’m gonna be able to rescue this business.
Man: Oh, I’m so sorry, um … is there nothing you can do?
Woman: I don’t know. Nobody cares – nobody’s really in a position to help.
Man: Well, I guess … this isn’t going to help but it’s … it’s happened to everyone, hasn’t it? It’s … it’s not your fault.
Woman: Sure, I mean, there have been thousands of people that have been affected – millions! – so I’m surely not the only one. But, at least I haven’t had Covid1 during this time … but … it’s just … it’s hard to move from here.
Man: Well, forgive me2, I know nothing about business, but … couldn’t you just start another one?
Woman: I mean, this one … it’s been a huge investment of money, of time, of energy, and I’m right out of all of them.
Man: OK, but what could you take forward for another time? I mean, nobody could have predicted the pandemic, but … but if it hadn’t happened, what would the situation be? Would you be in a healthy position? What … what was the situation at the start of 2020? Was the business healthy?
Woman: Well, er … one minute I’m getting orders for tons of3 products, and the next, no-one … I’m, I’m … I’m out of customers. It’s … no-one really needs this product anymore and frankly I’m all out of customers now.
Man: Well … pardon my ignorance2 again, I’m not a business person, but isn’t this part of a business plan? Didn’t you have a contingency fund or whatever you call it?
Woman: Well sometimes you have some money set aside4 for a rainy day, but this wasn’t a rainy day! This was like having a dam that completely collapsed on you and just left you covered.
Man: And you haven’t been furloughed?
Woman: Furloughed? What’s that?
Man: Oh, um, furlough … yeah, I didn’t know the word before either – it’s … it’s the word the British government have been using for when they bail people out; they pay your wage bill5 so that your company doesn’t go bust.
Woman: Well usually you need employees for that and I didn’t have any employees – there was … it was just me, my wage bill, so I made some enquiries about that – the government does have a bail-out plan – but really it’s just me.
Man: I don’t know what to say, um … do you regret leaving your job in the first place?
Woman: No, I … I’m sure if I’d have been there for the last year, I would’ve gone crazy, but … if I had been able to have something to back me up, it would have been nice to at least keep something and not have to sell everything in my business – never mind all my personal things! I had to pawn loads of stuff just to keep food on the table.
Man: Oh … I had no idea. Is there anything I can do to help?