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1 in 3 small businesses losing customers to maintain COVID-secure workplaces

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by Startacus Admin

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Latest research from iwoca reveals that COVID restrictions continue to have a huge impact on SMEs in the UK

1200px-Iwoca_Logo_Wiki.New research from small business lender iwoca suggests that although the initial easing of restrictions has helped recovery for some SMEs, around a third are still sacrificing customer numbers with existing COVID restrictions in place.

The price of being ‘COVID-secure’

With the proposed full opening up of the UK economy on 21 June still uncertain, SME owners report that being ‘COVID-secure’ is costing them time and money – 1 in 4 spend over an hour a day making sure that their workplace is ‘COVID-secure’, and almost a quarter have spent over £1,000 doing the same. 

SeemaDesai.The research also reveals that 41% of SME owners feel maintaining a 'COVID-secure' workplace is ‘significantly’ or ‘very significantly’ impacting how their business operates. As well as the time and cost, small business owners are currently sacrificing customer numbers, experiencing fewer sales and just over 1 in 4 have fewer staff in the workplace.

Almost half of female SME owners worried they won’t be able to afford their own salaries 

The need for clarity around restrictions lifting is further highlighted as business owners continue to face financial concerns: around 2 in 5 small business owners worry they won’t be able to afford paying themselves a salary in the next 6 months.

This period could be even tougher for female SME owners, with 45% anticipating they’ll struggle to afford to pay themselves, compared to 37% of male business owners. And – as the first round of bounce back loan repayments fall due this month – 41% of women are concerned they might struggle to pay back these COVID loans, compared to 29% of male business owners. 

Almost a third of SMEs now in better position than pre-COVID  

Despite the price many SMEs are paying due to COVID, research shows that many are bouncing back – 30% are now trading more than they were pre-crisis, up from 11% in December last year. Clarity around the UK ‘reopening’ will be critical for their continued recovery.

Seema Desai, Chief Operating Officer of iwoca commented: “As restrictions are being eased, many small business owners are chomping at the bit to recover their full potential. It’s encouraging to see that a third are trading more than they were in pre-COVID times, and hopefully we’ll see even more businesses recover once restrictions can be fully lifted around the UK.”

 


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Published on: 10th June 2021

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