Much has been said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business owners and the wider economy, and at Close Brothers Asset Finance we’ve continued to commission research throughout the lockdown and during the lifting of restrictions.
In our most recent research – conducted in July - we asked business owners, including those in the Print industry, a number of questions relating to COVID -19 and its impact, the results of which are provided, below.
How has your business’s cash flow been affected by COVID-19?
As expected, most firms (4 out of 5) have seen their cash flow negatively impacted, with most saying it’s dipped anywhere between 25% and 75% commonly selected figure being a 25% - 49% reduction. This closely reflects the national sentiment.
Only 16% have seen no change.
What is the current status of your business, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The results of this question varied widely between industries – in Print nearly a third (32%) of firms remained open as normal. A fifth said they were closed until the end of lockdown while a further 16% claimed they would unfortunately be ‘closing for good’.
When do you believe/expect your business will be fully operational?
Responses to this question were interestingly split between the various options – 21% feel they’ll be back to normal within a month from the survey; 41% said within three months and 23% inside six months. 14% were ‘unsure’.
In terms of future staffing, do you believe your business will return?
More firms in our industry will be returning to full operational capacity with the same number of people than the UK average (43% to 39%), also outperforming many other industries.
Unfortunately, 33% will be returning with fewer people against only 14% who will be looking to enlarge their workforce. For 10% it’s ‘too early to tell’.
Have you made use of the government’s furlough scheme for staff (temporary COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme in Ireland)?
Around half (46%) of Print firms admitted to making use of the government’s furlough scheme, which is slightly lower than the UK average of 50%, but significantly less than other industries including Wholesale & Distribution, where 70% said they’d furloughed staff.
50% of businesses in the industry said they hadn’t yet needed to furlough their employees, while 4% said they’d consider it in the future, if it was still available.
Have you made a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?
Over a quarter (26%) of firms have successfully applied for a CBILS loan, which is higher than the UK average of 23%. A further 13% had been declined and 52% had not made an application because they did not feel it was necessary; 9% were on the fence about applying.
The full results are available for download on our free-to-use SME Data Hub.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Kantar survey conducted in July 2020. The survey canvassed the opinion of over 900 SME owners across the UK and Ireland and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses.