Eight in 10 small business owners (83%) say they are “more prepared to take risks” as a result of their experiences during the pandemic, according to a survey by the free small business PR platform, Newspage.
Just 11% of the poll’s 1200 respondents, from a wide range of sectors and located around the UK, said they are “less prepared to take risks” in their capacity as a business owner, while 6% said they were not sure.
Meanwhile, a thumping majority of small business owners (93%) say the pandemic has made them feel “better equipped” to deal with uncertainty, with just 4% saying they now feel “worse equipped” to deal with economic and business-related uncertainty. Only 3% were unsure.
The ‘Who Dares Wins’ attitude among small business owners inspired by the pandemic is reflected in their approach to the year ahead.
Despite the looming end of the furlough scheme, potential tax rises on the horizon and the threat of interest rate hikes to contain inflation, nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) said they plan to grow their way through the next 12 months. Just 7% said they were planning to “batten down the hatches”, while 5% were unsure.
As part of the survey, Newspage users were asked how they felt they had changed as a small business owner since the beginning of the pandemic. Select responses are included below.
Dee Featherstone, founder of Peterborough-based The Little Sensory Box: “Since the pandemic, I am more prepared for growth but also more capable of adapting much quicker if need be. I am no longer scared to take the risks needed to scale further. The pandemic has made me more resilient as both a person and as a business.”
Gillian Jones-Williams, managing director of Fareham-based Emerge Development Consultancy: “Our business has changed immeasurably since the beginning of the pandemic. As a face-to-face training company, we lost everything in March 2020 and had to reinvent ourselves within the field of virtual delivery. As challenging as it was, we are definitely stronger as a business and can see how we can grow in the future.”
Maddy Alexander-Grout, CEO of Southampton-based My VIP Rewards: “The pandemic made us realise that our business model wasn’t working and we changed everything in order to grow. We rebranded, changed our product and re-aligned with our target audience. Ultimately, the pandemic gave us time to think everything through and we are now ready to grow and scale in a more efficient way.”
Andrew Deighton, owner of Derby-based AWD Development Solutions: “In a strange way, the pandemic has helped me longer term. I’m definitely more aware of what I do and how I want to do it. The whole pandemic experience has given me a stronger foundation.”
Sandra Wilson, director of Ipswich-based recruitment and HR company, Cottrell Moore: “Nothing has ever made us focus more on the need to evolve and embrace change than the pandemic. I have personally learnt that taking risks in certain situations can often be the best way to ensure success. In the business world, fortune very often favours the brave.”
Sam Sutton, director of Hampshire-based New Forest Activities: “Navigating the pandemic has brought us together as a team. We now collectively feel more responsible for the results we achieve and are thinking much bigger as a result. As a business owner, I’m now looking at acquisitions and start-ups in order to take full advantage of the opportunities open to us.”
Kelly Smallcombe, founder at Bristol-based Evolved Creative: “As a small business owner, the pandemic has been a time to rethink everything I’ve been doing and look at things through a completely new lens. Covid-19 has taught me to be prepared and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances. I won’t be waiting for the next pandemic, but will use all I have learned over the past 18 months to see it through.”
Tina Judic, CEO of London-based digital agency, Found: “The start of the pandemic was a concerning time but we recognised early on that it provided an opportunity to seize the moment and that future plans could be rolled out sooner than intended. We’ve made a number of hugely positive steps to business growth that we perhaps wouldn’t have taken so quickly under normal circumstances.”
Commenting on the survey results, Dominic Hiatt, founder, Newspage, added: “Based on this evidence, the past 18 months have fundamentally changed the psychology of small business owners. They’re a lot more resilient and able to cope with uncertainty, more prepared to take on risks to grow and more bullish generally given that they have managed to survive. This confidence bodes well for the future and the economic uncertainty that lies ahead.”