Britain’s entrepreneurs are investing in themselves to navigate the cost-of-living crisis

In this opinion piece, Ben Ramsden, Head of SMEs, PayPal UK, explores the unique way that Britain’s entrepreneurs are navigating the current cost-of-living crisis.

Small and medium-sized businesses are facing a tough environment in the aftermath of Brexit and Covid, not to mention inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. Despite this though, many small business owners are investing in themselves, and their business needs as they look to navigate the months ahead and set their company up for success long into the future.

Insights from PayPal UK’s recent 2022 Business of Change report reveal that three-quarters (78%) of small business owners believe the cost-of-living crisis will be the biggest threat to their business over the next year. Moreover, 27 percent of SME owners say they are not sure they will even be in business in the next 12 months due to key challenges such as maintaining a steady cash flow, managing their own mental health, and coping with the increase in cost of raw materials.

Optimism on the horizon

Looking ahead, there is room for optimism. Almost a third (31%) of SMEs we surveyed say they still feel a sense of success or achievement in themselves after what they’ve been through, and the challenges successfully navigated to take them to this point.

Key calendar moments have and will breathe fresh life into struggling businesses. The Jubilee Weekend has already offered a £6.37 billion boost to the UK economy with a 17 percent rise in the number of people visiting shops across the country. Similarly, over a third of business owners say they’re looking forward to the Christmas trading period—hopefully, the first time in three years with no mobility restrictions to hamper the busiest sales period of the year.

Reclaiming financial health & stability

Ben Ramsden, PayPal UK

Ben Ramsden

One of the strongest benchmarks for seeing SMEs achieving financial control is reclaiming their business confidence through upskilling and investing in themselves. In fact, a third of SMEs say they’ve taken steps to upskill through finance apps to develop their own financial literacy skills and help manage company finances.

Benefits beyond business performance

Streamlining operations and maximising efficiency is primarily a tool for enhancing business performance, but subtler benefits should not be ignored. The impact of having a financially healthy business is far-reaching – boosting self-confidence, building savings and emergency funds, as well as providing a strong foundation from which SMEs can expand further, including into international markets.

Nearly half of all British entrepreneurs say they now feel more confident in themselves as leaders, and more than two in five say that running a financially healthy business causes less overall stress. In a world of ever-increasing socio-economic and societal pressure, we mustn’t forget about the wellness of the people that keep our country afloat.

Future-proofing their financials in 2022

While the months ahead will no doubt bring further challenges for SMEs, external and internal factors are providing the foundation for survival and future success. Key calendar moments are driving sales, while entrepreneurs are taking proactive measures to streamline their operations and future-proof their business.

PayPal’s range of tools are supporting the bespoke needs of UK businesses as they look to achieve their goals and take the stress out of managing business finances. But our role goes beyond ones and zeros, profit and loss, as we look to support the individuals that are driving our economy forwards. That’s why we’re focussed on creating a business environment underpinned by resilience, wellness and empowerment.