As SMEs look towards “COVID-normal” in 2021, many are wondering how they will rebound from the stresses and strains of the past year.
In fact, as many as 65% of businesses are worried about having a clear recovery pathway, according to findings from business banking analysis firm East & Partners.
And despite the government support on offer during the pandemic, almost half of surveyed businesses (47%) said they had difficulty accessing government-guaranteed loans during COVID-19.
These COVID-specific concerns come as businesses experience a marked increase in perennial concerns, the ScotPac-commissioned research also shows.
In the past 18 months, the biggest shift has been businesses finding funders harder to deal with than normal, with 56% of businesses saying this was an issue compared to 47% in 2019.
And there has been a marked increase in businesses frustrated that their funder isn’t meeting their needs (22%, up from 16%).
The top three concerns have been loan conditions (84%), having to provide property security (80%) and lack of flexibility (74%).
Amid the horror show of 2020, SME reliance on trusted advisors grew.
53% of SMEs relied more on their key advisor – such as their broker or accountant – during the pandemic.
And the vast majority (82%) said this had a positive impact on their business.
Moving forward, the report states that “successfully navigating out the other side of the COVID crisis requires SME owners not to delay making the hard decisions about their business.”
“These hard decisions include assessing business viability, pinpointing the best way to fund the business, working out how to deal with the end of JobKeeper (if not for themselves, for the impact this will have on their supply chains) and planning for what happens when ATO debts are enforced and other deferred debts fall due.”
If you think you might have trouble navigating some of these hard decisions, then please get in touch today – we’re here to help you explore your business’s finance and funding options.
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