A mixed but somewhat worrying picture has emerged from the most recent SME business confidence research.
Whilst the vaccine rollout has encouraged immediate confidence, almost 25% of SME’s do not expect to survive 2021.
The vaccine rollout has had a significant impact upon heling support business recovery, not the least because it has underwritten the lockdown roadmap.
The sustained economic impact over the last twelve months or so has also been devastating, as lost earnings and debt take their toll. The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have cost SME’s some £126 billion in lost earnings.
To further compound the concern, almost 50% of SME’s fear future potential lockdowns and their potential impact, with the potential consequences compounding the crisis to date.
All of this is of critical importance to the UK’s economy since SME’s account for 99% of all UK business and generate turnovers of more than £2 trillion annually.
As if to make the situation even worse, some 20% of SME’s believe that whilst they may survive 2021, they may cease to trade in 2022 or 2023, because of the consequences of future potential lockdowns as stated above.
To refocus on the positive, more than a third of SME’s feel optimistic about the short- and medium-term future, underwritten by the fact that they have used the pandemic lock down positively to enact transformation, change and preparation, as well as other business activities which required attention but in the normal run of things may have been on backburners, such as training and the adoption of new technologies. The down time has also allowed business owners to recharge, spend time with families and refocus a work life balance.