Much has continued to be said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business owners and the wider economy.
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 during the second national lockdown - we again 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?
There has been no change in the six months between the surveys, with the bulk of firms (4 out of 5) having seen their cash flow negatively impacted, with most saying it’s dipped between 25% and 75% This continues to closely reflects the national sentiment.
Only 13% 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 fewer firms were open than after the first survey (27% v 32%). Only 7% said they were closed until the end of lockdown while a further 40% said the majority of their staff were working from home.
When do you believe/expect your business will be fully operational?
With the pandemic continuing longer than many expected, responses to this question were very different this time around. Instead of many thinking they’d be open within the month, four in 10 expected a delay of at least six months before fully returning, and a third were ‘unsure’, up from 14%.
In terms of future staffing, do you believe your business will return?
Positively, Print firms are more confident than before that they will be returning to full operational capacity with the same number of people than before, up to 60% from 43% - outperforming all other sectors polled.
Unfortunately, 27% will be returning with fewer people against only 7% who will be looking to enlarge their workforce. For a further 7% 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)?
Three in five Print firms said they had made use of the government’s furlough scheme, up from 46% which is slightly above the UK average of 55%, and more or less in line with other industries.
Have you made a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?
Three quarters of Print companies said they hadn’t needed to make a CBILS application, up from 52% last time. A total of 13% of firms surveyed have successfully applied for a CBILS loan, with 7% having been declined.
The full results are available for download on our free-to-use SME Data Hub.