SME leaders believe it will take on average 12 months for their businesses to make up for lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the release of pent-up consumer demand following the easing of restrictions last week, medium-sized businesses are most confident about their recovery, with over a quarter saying it will take them between 7-9 months to return to a pre-COVID financial state. Small-sized businesses are marginally less optimistic, with a quarter believing it will take them between 10-12 months. For some, however, the lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a lasting impact, with nearly one in five of sole traders concerned that their businesses will never recover from the lost revenue.
The research also found that younger business owners (18-34) are more optimistic about making up lost revenue, with 23% hoping to see a recovery in the first 4-6 months, whereas 24% of business owners aged 55+ don’t see their business recovering for at least one to two years.
Regionally, London and the South East are most optimistic about business recovery. Just short of a quarter of SME leaders in the South East predict a recovery within 10-12 months, and a quarter of those in London confidently hope for a recovery in 7-9 months.
The North West and South West of England remains the least optimistic, with 50% of SME leaders predicting recovery to take 1-2 years.
Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance who commissioned the research, comments: “While the trepidations of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions will have lasting effects for many British businesses, it’s encouraging to see such optimism among SMEs about their projected finances as they return to business as usual.
“However, the roadmap out of lockdown will not be without its challenges. As businesses across the country begin to reopen, government and industry must collectively raise awareness of the varying support measures available to aid these businesses in their longer-term recovery, ultimately providing a much-needed boost to our economy.”