How To Recover

Small Business Britain has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support small businesses and understand what their needs are now and in the future. This has highlighted some key things – the huge strain this has put in particular on small businesses, many of whom had little to fall back on; the speed of the crisis took many unawares and it took several months for businesses to start to pick themselves up; and the switch to digital for small business has been dramatic, fast paced and in many cases transformational for their future. It has also highlighted the wider needs and role of small businesses – support for their mental health on the one hand, and the incredible support they provided throughout lockdown for their local communities.

The upcoming report in a series that has covered the last four years of enterprise, Small Business – How To Recover, will uncover what it is taking for small businesses to get back on their feet, to adapt to changing circumstances, and to return to growth. The report will encompass a wide variety of perspectives, including small businesses, academics, industry experts and more.

The report will be launched early 2022 with insights shared by Small Business Britain monthly on a dedicated webpage, social media and in the press.

Thank you once again to TSB for their continued support of this report series.

Please get in touch with Small Business Britain if you have any questions or would like to be involved in future reports at [email protected].

For all press enquiries please contact [email protected].

November Insights

As winter approaches, small businesses are feeling the financial pressure more across the board, with more debt, more cost cutting and a paring back where possible. This is, however, actually supporting a growing awareness of and activity in sustainability for small businesses. Reducing waste and engaging with customers and the supply chain on sustainability are working well with a more frugal approach to business, and creating commercial opportunities, which have the added benefit of being good for the planet.

With cost increases from shipping, input costs, and financing costs, businesses are looking for new opportunities for growth and engaging with digital more than ever before. Indeed, those businesses that have thrown themselves into new technology are now reaping the benefits with increased optimism and confidence.

This confidence continues to be supported by a customer base that is much more small business aware and small business friendly. Big businesses are actively looking to include small businesses in their supply chain, and consumers are coming out of the pandemic with a greater sense of purpose in their spending, looking to support small businesses and local communities more than ever before.

November Top Business Tips for Recovery

Business sentiment:

Jennifer Blyth, Storm In A Tea CupIn the seven years of running this business, no one could have predicted the pandemic would happen. We always try to be prepared, but now we are thinking six months ahead at a time. The pandemic and Brexit have made us more cautious in planning, but also more prepared, which is a good thing.

Jennifer Blyth Storm in a Tea Cup

Reach out for help and support:

Jo Bevilacqua, Serenity LovesStick together, support each other, reach out for help as there are so many people out there who want to help! Government can help with support schemes etc, but there is support from within the small business community too.

Jo Bevilacqua Serenity Loves

Embrace the changing world:

Catherine Erdly, Resilient Retail ClubWith the pandemic, we have seen two types of people and business: people who get angry and caught up, and people who work out what needs to be done. People who embrace new and changing opportunities are the ones who flourish. Small businesses showed their ability and flexibility during this period, responding to constant change. You always need to be adaptable.

Catherine Erdly Resilient Retail Club

Focus on sustainability:

Becky Davies-Downes, William and TildaA focus on sustainability has to be beneficial. Customers are starting to expect businesses to step up and make changes - and if we don’t there is a danger of being left behind and looking out of date. Or like we simply don’t care. And if we don’t care about the world our customers live in, why should they care about our brand?

Becky Davies-Downes William and Tilda

October Insights

As we move into Autumn 2021, it is clear from our interviews with small businesses that they are more buoyant than "mid" pandemic, but remain concerned about what may be coming up this winter. A cautious optimism is tempered by continued challenges, including staffing, supply chains, and for many simply returning to pre-pandemic income levels. There is a strong sense that digital upskilling, hard work, community and customer support and of course government intervention have got businesses through the last year and a half. However in order to recover, there is no time to relax any of these mechanisms as the difficult period is not over yet. A strong positive to come out of this period is that staff and customers feel a stronger attachment to the business, more loyalty, more affection. This has given businesses strength and something to build on over the winter.

October Top Business Tips for Recovery

Business sentiment:

Business sentiment is summed up well by dBx Acoustics, who say:

I have a mixture of feelings. Proud and relieved that we have made it this far, but anxious about what might be around the corner. We are seeing a lot of political and economic upheaval, shortages of labour and materials are badly affecting our key industry (construction), and it’s almost certain that taxes will rise to pay off the debts incurred by furlough etc. I’m not ready to relax just yet.

Susan Witterick dBx Acoustics

Focus on customers:

Amanda Alexander, Giddy Goat ToysNever take customers and sales for granted, look for and consider other sales opportunities and channels.

Amanda Alexander Giddy Goat Toys

Find new opportunities:

Maurizio D'Apollonio, Maurizio Dining & CoWe are looking at how to make more of eCommerce opportunities and creating products that will sell well using this way of reaching new customers. It could take us from a local to national level business.

Maurizio D'Apollonio Maurizio Dining & Co

Plan ahead:

Paul Tyer, Peedie ModelsThink six steps ahead! Leave nothing to the last minute, especially in getting supplies in.

Paul Tyer Peedie Models