We have always been a nation of amazing and creative SMEs.
The UK’s 5.9m SMEs account for 99% of all our businesses and truly are the backbone of our economy and our society. New Barclaycard and Enterprise Nation research has found that our resilient SMEs are not only surviving, but getting ready to come back stronger as they adapt and take on the new normal.
The SME club has been lobbying for the public and the government to continue supporting small businesses, in order to help them get through this crisis and help keep Britain stronger than ever.
The economic figures over the past week(s) may have been bleak reading, but there’s is some positive news for UK SMEs. While coronavirus has plunged many of us into uncertainty, we have reasons to feel positive. Barclaycard's research found that nearly all SMEs feel that the worst effects of coronavirus will dissipate within the next two years, and almost two thirds are planning to invest in their business within the next 12 months.
In early signs that the SME economy is coming back online after lockdown, the number of Barclaycard’s SME clients trading and taking payments has jumped by 31 per cent since early April.
Small businesses are proving to be strong and adaptable, even in crisis. The Barclaycard SME Barometer showed nearly one in five have boosted social media activity, and one in 10 (11 per cent) have increased their focus with online sales to continue reaching their audiences and expanding their business opportunities. These changes may have been something that many SMEs had planned to do long term, but the pandemic has forced many to react and adapt now.
While the lockdown has been far from ideal, nearly 20 per cent of SMEs say that one upside of this pause is that they’ve been planning more for the future. With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, SMEs which have been flexible, forward-looking, and able access the support they need will hopefully benefit from the “V-shaped” recovery that the Bank of England is predicting for the UK economy. This is some really positive news and we at the SME club ask that all of us — customers, larger corporates, banks and financial institutions, and the government — continue to work together to help SMEs across the UK thrive. They’re working hard and doing their best to adapt, grow and start trading again. As the backbone of the UK economy, we owe them our support.