My Column

Stay Strong and say yes to success

  • Date: Monday 5th December 2022
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I am in awe at the strength that has been shown by this country’s business leaders given what they’ve faced in recent years.

They’ve had so many challenges thrown at them, yet so many continue to remain hopeful in the face of uncertainty. It’s so admirable.

A new survey has revealed a resilient attitude dominates in Scottish businesses despite the economic unease and staffing woes.

The research was carried out in association with the research team at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and included more than 50 businesses from across Aberdeen and Grampian, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Angus. 

When asked about their future ambitions, 59 per cent of respondents to the Henderson Loggie Scottish Business Survey said they have plans to grow their businesses in the year ahead, while 37 per cent are aiming to strengthen their existing levels of activity.

This is all in spite of what feels like constant doom and gloom, business closures, spiralling energy bills, and for some an inability to recruit and retain staff.

The severe hike in energy prices remains the biggest threat to business owners, followed by increasing staff wages in line with inflation levels.

Regarding resilience, many people mistakenly believe it is something you are born with… that it’s a character trait you either possess or don’t.

That’s simply not true.

Resilience is a sort of superpower that can be used to create confidence and bounce when things are stressful and overwhelming. And the best part is we all have the ability to hone it and grow it over time. 

In the same way that lifting weights can make you stronger, there are things you can practice that will give you the mental strength to better deal with difficult situations.

It may sound obvious but building resilience in business can only start when there is an understanding of what disruptions might arise, and acknowledgement that there are always going to be ups and downs.

So it’s reassuring to see that the majority of Scottish business leaders are remaining positive in the face of adversity, while taking steps to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging aspects of the recent survey is that the vast majority (78 per cent) of Scottish businesses now see mental health as a joint responsibility between employer and employee.

It’s good to see that being recognised, particularly as research shows poor mental health costs Scottish employers over £2 billion every year – plus, for every £1 spent on mental health interventions, employers get back £5 in reduced sick days and increased productivity.

We continuously see stories in the news about what new measures businesses are taking to provide a happy and flexible work environment for staff…something that was practically unheard of two or three decades ago.

By contrast, today we see staff wellbeing days, investment in mental health first aiders and awareness-building training sessions. It’s evident that many employers now understand how a culture of fear and silence around mental health is something that’s long behind us. 

Some companies are building resilience training and workshops into the core of their management approaches too, to ensure employees are fully equipped with tools in dealing with future challenges.

Such an idea can only be a good thing, as maintaining grit and determination can help professionals achieve more and go further, faster.

As business leaders continue to show fortitude in these challenging times, it makes sense for them to ensure these pearls of wisdom are passed on to their teams as well.

Mental resilience can help give those in business a real edge when it comes to remaining driven, confident and working well under pressure.

It doesn’t always come easy when we face tough challenges, but the key is reminding ourselves to look past these and remind ourselves that we have the capacity to come through them.

 The business industry can be an unrelenting environment, but given the fact businesses are still looking at new ways to expand, it proves their leaders are not ready to give up soon – and that’s resilience.



There’s nothing I like to see more than Scottish investment plans and creation of jobs which is why I was thrilled to hear of Ian Macleod Distillers’ proposals for a new £40m plant.

The 10th largest Scotch whisky company wants to base a new whisky maturation plant in the village of Throsk.

Not only will the plans, if approved, create 20 direct jobs within the area – the proposed site at Bandeath Industrial Estate is zoned for employment uses in the Stirling Local Development Plan so it’s a win-win for the business and the local council.

Plus it will allow the company to expand as it will provide extra capacity for all its operations across Scotland including three distilleries located in Falkirk, Stirlingshire and Speyside.

It was only a couple a couple of years ago in 2020 that we saw the industry take a hit as Scotch exports plummeted to their lowest in a decade, due to the pandemic and US imposed tariffs.

Thankfully things took a turn for the better the following year and the Scotch Whisky Association predicted the industry was on the road to recovery.

They seem to have called it correctly as we’ve since been inundated with positive news form the distilling world.

Islay’s set to get its smallest distillery, which will be the 13th to open on the island. Dunnet Bay unveiled plans for a new distillery and announced early-bird investment opportunities. And Bruichladdich recently scooped a major award for environmental leadership in business, showing it’s possible to prioritise people and planet alongside profit.

That’s just a snapshot of industry news from the past month, so things certainly do seem to be looking up. I’m sure distillers will be in good spirits!


LAUGH (125)

Fuel bills are no laughing matter especially at a time like this, however I have to applaud an East Lothian family who put charity ahead of themselves to raise cash this festive season.

The Woods family created a Christmas display with over 40,000 lights and a 16ft Christmas tree at their home in Prestonpans to fundraise for Forth 1’s Cash for Kids Mission Christmas.

Despite the bill, which is estimated to total up to £600 for the Christmas display alone, the family were able to keep up the Christmas tradition.

It’s inspiring to see people continuing to raise valuable funds for charities even with the ongoing cost of living crisis. I’m sure the total raised will be worth that huge electric bill coming their way!



Like everyone else I was saddened to hear the news of Doddie Weir’s passing. The rugby star was a Scottish sporting legend and his fundraising efforts for motor neurone disease (MND) are inspirational.

However, since the news, MND charities have revealed that they’re still waiting on funding which was promised by the UK Government back in 2021.

The £50m funding pot was in place to help fund research into the disease however following the rugby player’s death, the Motor Neurone Disease Association has said the money is not in the hands of the researchers.

The sad news about Doddie has brought discussions about MND to the fore once again, and I hope that charities such as the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (MNDF) – which has a vision for a world free of MND – will start to see the vital funds needed to undertake their life-changing work

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