55% of SBOs lost regular customers during lockdowns
A recent survey, commissioned by accounting software provider FreshBooks, has revealed the top struggles small business owners have faced during the pandemic.
With a survey sample of 1,000 small business owners, FreshBooks revealed 60% of them felt some sort of impact from COVID-19 on their business. In addition, over half (55%) admitted they lost regular customers during the pandemic lockdowns, with many customers deciding to try competing businesses.
The findings follow the news that the gap between tech-savvy businesses and those struggling with technology was accelerated by lockdown.
The devastating impact of COVID-19 has left many businesses unable to re-open. When questioned about the amount of support and guidance UK governments have provided, it’s no surprise 43% felt they had not received enough support or guidance. Furthermore, 53% felt disappointed with the way governments dealt with small business owners.
Worryingly, the stress of the pandemic has left many small business owners struggling with their mental health. Survey results show 65% suffer from one or more mental health issues – 31% from anxiety or depression and 30% experiencing sleep deprivation.
Nuffield Health’s recent Healthier Nation Index also revealed that 41% of us have experienced worsened mental health since the start of the first lockdown.
Speaking to the results, Twyla Verhelst, Head of FreshBooks Accountant Channel says, “The pandemic has been tough on a lot of businesses, especially small business owners, so it’s no surprise many of them feel disappointed in the lack of support and guidance they’ve received from the government.”
“It’s harrowing to read how so many of them are suffering from mental health problems, either through stress and anxiety or just a lack of sleep.”
The pandemic, amplified by lockdowns, have unquestionably made business owners rethink certain areas of their business. When looking at where they spend most of their time, the data revealed that 18% of it is spent on business admin.
When asked if cutting down admin tasks would make running their business easier, 54% said yes. The reasons given are as follows: 53% said it would allow them to focus on important tasks that are often left to the last minute, 46% said it would make their work/life balance better, and 45% said it would give them more time to do their actual job.
Discussing the results, Twyla Verhelst, said: “It’s also no surprise that business owners want to reduce time spent on admin tasks. That’s why FreshBooks was created – to make business admin quick and easy for small business owners who need to free up time for other tasks, and more importantly, make their working life easier.”
Here are the top ten industries that have felt the biggest impact of the pandemic according to the research:
1. Hospitality (88%)
2. Tourism (80%)
3. Travel (79%)
4. Retail (72%)
5. Beauty (60%)
6. Fitness (59%)
7. Manufacturing (50%)
8. Agricultural (49%)
9. Media (40%)
10. PR and Marketing (39%)