Life as an SME: Surviving a Pandemic

Finding The Light In A Year Of COVID19, Brexit And Late Payments

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far more significant impact than any other disruption in recent memory, and its devastation has rippled through numerous aspects of our lives. As 2020 wore on, owners of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businesses grappled to pivot and survive a landscape that was rapidly changing in various ways. Between the official Brexit transition and the onset of the coronavirus, SMEs have experienced unprecedented volatility unlike anything this generation has weathered before.

Pandemics, Payments and Potential

Our latest survey of SMEs in the UK found that they are faced with unique challenges, such as finding qualified employees due to nuances related to the Brexit transition, and concurrently, they are faced with supply chain risks because of the pandemic.

SMEs were also saddled with late payments that significantly impacted their cash flow. In fact, Dun & Bradstreet’s trade data shows a deterioration in overall UK payment performance from 47.3% in March 2020 to 41.8% in December 2020, reflecting the tough business environment faced by SMEs. As a result, finding external resources for funding to temporarily ease the burden has proven to be a lifeline that many SMEs have been utilising lately.

In this time of uncertainty, SMEs are finding it increasingly important to find new sources of business, new leads, and new customers.

What the study also found, was that SMEs need reliable data and are more readily willing to adopt new technology to help evolve their business model in order to take full advantage of the current environment, rich with opportunity for innovation. The SME owners responded with optimism, believing in a positive future for their business in the UK.

Assessing the impact and opportunities

Now, on a road that appears to be headed towards recovery, with 2020 still looming in our rear-view mirrors, we can begin to assess the collateral damage.

In this report, we’ll look at SME sentiments gleaned from our survey and highlight trends and opportunities they themselves identified through this survey, during a time of crisis and reflection. we hope you find it insightful, helpful and applicable.

Download the report ‘Life as an SME: Surviving a Pandemic’ here.