British business is getting back on track – with resilient entrepreneurs up and down the country showing signs of recovery after overcoming the obstacles of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The past two years have seen half of small businesses suffer significant financial setbacks, with 54 per cent having to introduce new emergency revenue streams to survive the winter months after Omicron and supply chain troubles.
But according to a new ‘How to Recover’ report from Small Business Britain and TSB Bank, four fifths (86 per cent) of entrepreneurs are fighting back and believe their business will survive this year, despite half admitting financial stability has taken a hit.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of business owners are also optimistic that they will grow in 2022 – and Small Business Britain has launched an eight-step plan to help businesses rebuild and combat challenges.
Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said: “The last two years have brought a rollercoaster of fortunes for small businesses. Each time it seems a corner has been turned, another hurdle has arisen.
“It is incredible how small businesses have used their entrepreneurial instincts to dig deep and keep going. But keep going they must!
“With the right mindset and the help of support networks, innovations like technology and new products and services, small businesses can make it through this crisis and be well positioned for recovery.”
The guide includes embracing a growth mindset, with an openness to adapt, embrace change, and try new things to overcome crisis – something that has led half of small businesses to adopt new innovation, technology and skills to get through the troubling year, as 49 per cent also used government grants to keep their businesses stable.
Cucumber Clothing is one such business that has been able to combat the tough retail market using innovation, appealing to customers keen for lower upfront investment and greater sustainability with a new rental model.
Co-founder Eileen Willett said: “Do what you believe in! It is so easy to procrastinate, but just go for it. You’ll never be perfect just learn as you go and improve.”
But as well as changing your mindset and embracing change to get businesses on the road to recovery in the unstable climate, Small Business Britain is also recommending that businesses get help from others through networking and taking advice from mentors to gain inspiration and solve problems, while also prioritising their staff and customers to gain a greater insight into where they can improve.
Adopting new technologies to connect to a digital audience and build skills can also increase revenue and boost productivity, while flexible businesses that are prepared for any situation with back-up plans in place are more likely to survive an unpredictable economy.
And while the pandemic has posed a challenge for the whole of the business world, Small Business Britain encourages businesses to invest in core areas for future growth where possible, and to make sure mental health remains a priority for business owners.
Ovens added: “We hope that the small firms out there struggling – and there are many still feeling very vulnerable – can use the practical advice in this guide as a roadmap to find a way back to growth.
“However, there is of course a limit to what small businesses can do. There is still a need for continued support – from the government, bigger businesses, and the public. And it’s vital that this support is inclusive, so it reaches everyone across the small business community.”
Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Following a challenging two years for businesses, during which the government has offered an unprecedented £400 billion package of support, I am pleased that two-thirds of firms expect to grow this year.
“The government is doing everything it can to bolster small businesses with schemes like Help to Grow giving business leaders the expert management training and digital skills they need to boost their performance and profitability.”
Adeel Hyder, Business Banking Director at TSB Bank said: “Despite a thoroughly testing two years, British businesses are bouncing back with renewed optimism in achieving stability and growth. But we know they face ongoing challenges – so I hope the Small Business Britain report helps by setting out a clear roadmap for businesses to rebuild and grow.
“We’re committed to providing the support that businesses need. We’ve just launched a new app Revenu to help customers get paid faster alongside our ‘Business Talk’ hub and our partnerships with contactless and digital payment providers.”