Over a third of small-to-medium enterprise owners managed to weather the pandemic better than expected – and three-quarters of small business owners got by without the furlough scheme
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A quarter of business owners feel “more prepared than ever” to guide their companies to success following the pandemic.
Research into 1,000 small-to-medium enterprise owners found 35 percent managed to navigate the last 18 months better than they had expected.
On average, small businesses estimate they have grown by 6.2 percent, despite the challenges they faced.
The key growth drivers for many have been spotting a new gap in the market, a strong social presence, and online sales, while 24 percent are experiencing more demand post-pandemic.
To keep ahead of the game, a quarter have started putting funds aside in case there are further lockdowns or world-changing scenarios.
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It also emerged three-quarters of small businesses polled were able to get by without relying on the government furlough scheme.
Just under a fifth of those who did have to furlough staff now have all their team members back working – and a tenth have even taken on new recruits.
And 86 percent said they managed to get through the entire pandemic without making any redundancies.
Lisa Jacobs, UK managing director at Funding Circle, which commissioned the study into the state of the nation’s businesses, said: “As business owners reflect on the last eighteen months, it’s welcome to hear their experience has better-equipped them to handle any obstacles which may lie ahead.
“With the economy not quite out of the woods, the UK’s small businesses will continue to play a vital role in powering the recovery. It’s exciting to see their confidence and optimism resulting in so many plans to expand and grow.”
The study also found that, over the next 12 months, a third will be taking the opportunity to reach a totally new customer base, and 29 percent will be growing their online sales.
Just under a quarter (23 percent) plan to launch new products, and one in four have plans to upgrade their social media presence.
But 27 percent worry about making enough profit to keep up with their overheads, according to the OnePoll figures.
And three in ten are also concerned about the rising costs of inflation, while 15 percent expect the shortage of lorry drivers to cause stock delays.