There’s no doubt that we’re living in difficult times. In a matter of weeks, it feels as though the world has turned upside down. People are starting to accept a ‘new normal’ of quarantine and social distancing; hoping that it’s only a temporary situation. Whilst the Coronavirus has definitely made an impact on the way we live and work, we will overcome it.
Here at Capify, we’ve been supporting SMEs with their growth plans for over a decade. We know the ins and outs and ups and downs that come with running a business. That’s why we understand the level of disruption that the Coronavirus will cause. We’ve all heard the news, we’ve read the theories and predictions but we wanted to get your thoughts on the situation. We sent out a survey, and these were the responses.
Question 1: What impact has the Coronavirus had on your business?
88% of people said that the Coronavirus has had a negative effect on their business so far. Whilst somewhat unsurprising that it’s disrupting business, it’s worrying that right now is still considered the ‘early days’.
Many hospitality businesses lost footfall because the public were trying to avoid unnecessary contact. As a very social country where people love to eat out and spend their evenings at the pub, it was impossible to predict that something could come along and stop us. On Friday 20th March, the Government announced that certain businesses including restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes could no longer open to the public.
Whilst there weren’t many people who said the Coranavirus was having no impact, or a positive impact on their business, there were a few (12%). It seems transport and logistics firms, some retailers and some construction companies have gained business. With people staying in doors, it’s likely that online deliveries will go up, which means more drivers will be needed on the roads.
At this point in time, everyone will be turning to the internet for news, shopping and company. If you haven’t already, put some time into building an online presence. It’s important to keep people engaged with your brand, interested in your products and updated on your business. You can do this via a website, or more easily through social media which has the added benefit of being free!
If you’re a retailer, you should also see what’s going on in your local area. Some towns and villages are coming together to offer unique services. Local businesses which don’t have websites are accepting orders over the phone and using community members to make deliveries to people in quarantine.
Question 2: What impact do you think the Coronavirus will have on your business in the future?
25% said that they’re not sure what effect Coronavirus will have on their business going forward. I think that’s an optimistic figure and it suggests that people are remaining positive. It’s hard to say how long this whole thing is going to last for, and that’s why it’s so difficult. Nobody likes the unknown.
70% said they think it will have a negative impact, and the remaining 4% think it could be positive for their business in the future.
Question 3: What’s your biggest concern?
There were two stand out answers here. Business owners seem to be most concerned about their cash flow (80%) and being able to pay their bills, rent and wages (79%). Following closely behind was the worry that people wouldn’t be able to support their personal finances (69%).
Other concerns are as follows:
- Staff members being taken ill (37%)
- Being asked to cease trading by the government (34%)
- Losing footfall (32%)
It seems the government is aware about the unease felt by business owners. This year, despite Coronavirus being in its early stages, the Budget announced a lot of plans to support SMEs. From the abolishment of business rates, to grants and loans, there is assistance available. Which brings us nicely onto the next question…
Question 4: Do you think the government is doing enough to support businesses?
63% of people actually said it’s too early to say at this time. Despite the government announcing lots of supportive things in the Budget, at the time of writing (Friday 20th March), some of them haven’t been put into place. If the government manages to implement new schemes quickly and smoothly, I’m sure many business owners will feel more confident.
It seems everyday there’s additional announcements made, they’re trying to navigate through this crisis and support all those affected. Information and advice from the Government can change quickly. For all the latest information on Covid-19 and the measures the Government, and Devolved Governments, are taking please visit the UK Government website, the Sottish Government website, the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website.
Question 5: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the impact the virus has had on your business?
The answers to this question were difficult to read, it’s not nice to hear that the businesses people have worked so hard to build are in danger. The overwhelming response was that everyone is feeling nervous and insecure.
Nobody knows what the future holds, but all we can do is support each other, support our businesses and hope that things get better soon.
Here’s some useful resources: