LLoyds Bank survey shows pandemic forced innovation from almost half of South-West businesses
According to a Lloyds Bank survey, Covid-19 prompted a wave of innovation as businesses pivoted their operations to survive. Almost half (46%) of South West businesses said the pandemic forced them to be more creative and innovative in finding new areas of growth.
A further half (46%) have made changes to their business since the start of the pandemic, such as making operational changes (22%) and expanding their online offering (20%).
Crucially, a significant number of the region’s businesses are benefiting from the pivots, with four in ten (41%) saying that they will keep their changes in the long term. And it is already paying dividends with nearly a quarter (23%) of firms saying that their operational changes have boosted revenues and profits.
Cakesmiths case study
Bristol-based bakery Cakesmiths, which supplies speciality baked goods on a wholesale basis to high-street coffee shop chains and independent retailers, changed its business model during the pandemic to survive after the demand for its cakes, traybakes and flapjacks dried up when the first lockdown was announced and its coffee-shop customers closed.
But with the support from Lloyds Bank, the business was able to start running an online delivery service for customers that remained open. As a result, it was able to retain its 50-strong workforce through the disruption.
Cakesmiths Director Mike Thorne said: “With the majority of coffee shops across the UK closed, we knew it would be a while before we were back operating as usual. Lloyds Bank’s support was key in helping us navigate the disruption to our supply chain, and retaining our brilliant team, meaning we could get back up and running as soon as demand returned.”
David Beaumont, Regional Director for the South West at Lloyds Bank, said: “South West businesses have shown real tenacity and resilience in facing the challenges of the past 18 months. What these findings show is that, in responding to restrictions on trading and pivoting operations, many have found ways to grow revenue and set themselves up for a more profitable future.
“We’ll continue to be by the side of the region’s firms to make sure they have access to the advice and support they need to recover and ultimately thrive in the months and years ahead.”
The UK and sector picture
Across the UK half of businesses (48%) said that the pandemic had forced them to be more innovative and 56% made changes to their operations as a result. The most common changes included selling more online (21%) and adapting shift patterns (20%).
Manufacturers were most likely to make changes to their operating patterns (28% vs 20% UK average) and to expand the products they offered (22% vs 17%). Retail was the top sector for expanding online offerings (25% vs 21% UK average), buoyed by the shift to online consumer spending.