Life after lockdown: the lowdown from small business owners ahead of April reopening

Our members are at the heart of everything we do, and with the restrictions starting to ease for businesses across England today, we wanted to know how small business owners feel.

  • 20% believe it will take over 6 months for revenue to bounce back
  • Rebuilding a customer base seen as the biggest challenge
  • Our CEO calls for return to #ShopLocal movement

We conducted a study amongst our members in the hospitality, retail as well as beauty and wellness industries to understand how they were feeling about reopening their businesses*. 

From our survey, it’s clear that small businesses eligible to reopen today (12 April) are concerned about rebuilding their customer bases, with many believing it could take over 6 months for revenue levels to bounce back.

The Government’s roadmap for reopening has had a positive effect on business owners, with 90% of small businesses being ready to reopen as soon as they are able, on Monday 12 April. 

While businesses in these sectors are confident they will be ready to reopen today, there are concerns around the time it will take for revenue to bounce back to pre-COVID levels. A fifth (19%) of businesses surveyed believe it will take over 6 months for revenue to bounce back, while over 1 in 10 (14%) believe it will take over a year to recover.

Rebuilding customer bases is the key concern among businesses; more than three quarters (72%) of those believe it will take over 3 months for their revenue to bounce back, citing this as the main reason. The second most common concern is the need to adapt businesses to meet COVID safety regulations. 

It’s natural for businesses to be apprehensive about reopening after such a turbulent year. I really hope, and am confident, we will see a return of the outpouring of support for small, independent businesses that was so prevalent this time last year. I would love to see a resurgence of the #ShopLocal campaign and I urge people to shop on their local highstreets as much as they possibly can and demonstrate their support for small businesses as they begin to reopen this  week.”

Oliver Prill, Tide CEO

Happily, the long-term outlook of small business owners in these sectors is bright. 70% of businesses in the hospitality, retail as well as beauty and wellness sectors are confident their businesses will see some growth, compared to their pre-COVID position, by the end of 2021.

When asked what kind of support would help make reopening successful, a third (32%) said that free or subsidised digital marketing would be the most beneficial. Rent relief and business rate relief were also popular options, with  25% and 20% citing this as the most necessary support respectively.

*Research conducted amongst 801 Tide members between 7 and 8 April 2021.

“What we have learned over the course of this crisis is that small businesses are resilient and innovative; while it will take a lot of hard work, I am confident our members will come back stronger.”

Oliver Prill, Tide CEO

Have your say

Is there anything else you’re looking forward to or apprehending with the ease of restrictions? We’re always keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

Photo by Ewien van Bergeijk – Kwant, published on Unsplash

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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