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How can small businesses survive in the post-pandemic world?

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  • Jun 14,2021
  • By Admin

After almost 18 months, the UK’s post-COVID recovery appears to finally be underway.

The successful rollout of the vaccination programme, combined with the gradual easing of lockdown since April 2021, many Britons are starting to feel that normality is within reach.

That said, some businesses are not quite at that point of recovery. Indeed, a recent survey commissioned by One World Express found that more than two fifths (42%) of small and medium sized enterprises (10-49 employees) have not seen any improvement in business performance since April of this year. Meanwhile, a further 52% yet to return to full operational capacity.

These figures are concerning. After all, the Government remains adamant that SMEs must play a leading role in driving the UK’s post-pandemic recovery.

As such, it is vital to understand exactly what is faltering the survival of such organisations.

Barriers to normality

As the UK begun its return to normality, the Government started tapering down its COVID support mechanisms, such as furlough. Whilst understandable, such measures could place a strain on certain businesses, particularly those who may still be experiencing a drop in footfall if some customers are still reluctant to visit offices or shops in person.

However, many businesses will have been caught off-guard by the “pingdemic” – i.e. whenmembers of the public where alerted by their NHS track and trace app that they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID and therefore had to self-isolate for ten days. Indeed, as its peak in the week to July 21st nearly 700,000 people in the UK were alerted to self-isolate. Consequently, an overwhelming majority (81%) of SMEs faced staff shortages.

As of 16th August, isolation guidelines have loosened and people who have received two vaccinations no longer have to isolate if they encountered someone infected with COVID. That said, the damage will have already been done to businesses, with some having to limit operations or even close their office. As such, businesses will have lost revenue and productivity which they won’t be able to make up for some time.

Naturally, this will hinder the post-pandemic recoveries of individual businesses, and the wider UK economy. As such, it is vital that organisations receive adequate support, to counteract any potential disruption.

Additional support

Evidently, providing the right financial support will be vital. Indeed, 60% of SMEs are calling for the Government to provide clarity regarding long-term financial support schemes, according to One World Express’ aforementioned study.

If businesses were made aware of various financial support schemes, they will be granted a welcome safety net when planning their long-term strategies. After all, given that the UK economy is yet to recover fully, perhaps it would be unfair to scrap all support schemes immediately. Doing so could be detrimental to the survival of organisations.

Likewise, companies must be equipped with the right tools to facilitate growth – and this will inevitably include creating a sustainable logistics strategy, that also offers the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

This is exactly why, One World Express recently partnered with Orange Connex to deliver Ship2world. This game-changing technology platform connects SME’s with over 130 courier solutions.  Meanwhile it’s inbuilt Smarttrack technology, which is powered by One World Express, allows users to monitor their courier journeys and identify potential inefficiencies within their chosen courier. Better yet, Ship2World grants SMEs the flexibility to switch couriers to better suit their business’ needs.

With platforms like Ship2world available, SMEs can create logistics strategies to ensure that their products can be shipped to customers across the world, including major eCommerce markets such as the US, Canada, Australia and Germany. As such, they will be able to grow, thereby facilitating their post-COVID recoveries.

Businesses were never going to bounce back from the pandemic. However, a combination of Government clarity, and sustainable logistics strategies will certainly offer the appropriate tools to aid their recovery over the coming months and years.