February 2022: Our new survey amongst[i] the employees of SMEs has found that over a third of firms (34%) took no measures at all to deal with the pandemic over the past year.
12% of respondents said the business they worked for actually increased headcount during the past 12 months, compared to 14% that reduced staff numbers. Furthermore, 9% of respondents confirmed that within their business, workers’ hours had been increased in 2021 and 8% worked for a business that had found new investment in the past year.
While concerns are rising over the number of businesses now struggling to honour Government backed loans, the findings paint a more positive picture of how far the pandemic impacted the U.K.’s SME community, and how resilient many firms have been in the face of unprecedented operational challenges during the second year of the pandemic.
Todd Davison, our MD, said: “It is hugely encouraging to understand that over a third of SMEs were able ‘keep calm and carry on’ without recourse to Government support or taking their own measures to cut costs. While we seem to be reaching the other side of the pandemic, it will be the survival of the fittest in 2022 as businesses face increased running costs and the continuing challenges over late payment of invoices.
“We would urge any business owner considering a loan as the new financial year approaches, to prepare for the likelihood that they will need to sign a personal guarantee, fully understand the risks and most importantly how to mitigate them. New funding should not mean unnecessary risk for business owners, particularly after such a tumultuous two years.”
[i] Study conducted January 2022 amongst 500 SME employees