Business owners in London and Greater South East demonstrate resilience and positivity amidst the COVID-19 crisis


A study of 250 business owners in London and Greater South East England by Vistage – the global CEO coaching and peer advisory organisation for small and medium sized businesses – revealed that the majority of respondents remain positive in spite of ongoing challenges, with 84% claiming they are optimistic about the next 12 months.

What’s more, 100% of business owners surveyed have seen some positive outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • A happier workforce – 36%
  • A more productive workforce – 36%
  • Increased revenue 35%
  • Increased staff retention – 32%
  • Pushed to be more tech savvy – 31%
  • Decreased outgoings (expenses, office costs, etc.) – 27%

The research, conducted alongside Censuswide, reveals that while respondents feel that there are challenges ahead, with maintaining revenue streams (53%) and staff retention (52%) as the leading concerns, they are continuing to forge ahead with more than half of respondents (56%) planning to increase their workforce over the next year.

Business owners in the region have proven their tenacity, with 78% claiming that the pandemic has changed their business approach in order to survive. Specifically, 49% of respondents moved their businesses online, 43% expanded to other countries and 29% pivoted their business offering. As businesses were pushed to make these difficult decisions, the majority of business owners (43%) stated that they sought advice and support from friends in other businesses. Other sources of support include government websites and online forums (38%), third-party advisors (33%) and peer support groups (31%).

“Business owners in London and the South-East have demonstrated their resilience and creativity in not only navigating through the many challenges of the past year, but also in coming through stronger and with a positive outlook,” said Jan Lloyd, one of 26 Group Chairs in the region, leading a group in London. “In supporting many business owners in the region through the crisis, I have witnessed this creativity and endurance first-hand. However, as indicated in the research, it’s crucial that the business community continues to remain alert and nimble as we look to the future, particularly as it relates to employees and closely managing revenue.”

As businesses look to the future, interestingly, most of respondents state that they are planning to return to office-based working full-time (40%), with 1 in 3 respondents planning to continue working remotely (32%). Just 27% of business owners are planning for hybrid working.