SMEs forecast 8.1% growth in 2021 as they plan to ease the lockdown

SMEs are optimistic about growth after Covid-19 in 2021

SMBs expect growth of over eight percent in 2021, with nearly four in ten (39 percent) saying they are optimistic about their business outlook.

Almost a third (32 percent) even say they are preparing for the end of the national lockdown measures.

The Barclaycard Payments SME Barometer published today shows that business sentiment is more positive with 98 out of 200 possible points. In fact, sentiment has risen steadily over the past three quarters from 79 points in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 79 points, a prepandemic high of 110 in February 2020.

Around 24 percent state that their production exceeded or returned to pre-pandemic levels in January 2020.

However, they are still set for short-term losses with the year locked at the beginning of the fiscal year and expecting a 7.5 percent drop in sales for the first three months of 2021.

The report also found that 42 percent of business owners believe this will be the final “tough” lockdown. Of these, 70 percent are cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead. However, there is more concern about restrictions that would affect businesses in any way. Only 27 percent of respondents believe the business restrictions will be completed by the end of April. That’s 49 percent who predict the restrictions will be completed by the end of June.

How are SMEs preparing for the post-lockdown business?

With an eye to the economic recovery, SMEs are preparing:

  • Increasing marketing expenses (62 percent are planning or have planned to do so)
  • Save cash (42 percent)
  • Change in their offer to customers in the “new normal” (42 percent)

SMEs expect the greatest growth opportunities to be for visitor numbers to rise (21 percent) and supply chains to return to normal (17 percent).

Many have also invested heavily in technology over the course of the pandemic. In the fourth quarter of 2020, half of SMEs said they had invested in digital learning for themselves and their employees, while in the first quarter of this year, 24 percent plan to continue even after restrictions ease, while 23 percent plan to continue to increase further in social media. A significant 13 percent see technology as their main source of growth in the coming year.

> See Also: A Guide To Social Media Strategy For Small Business Owners

Small businesses are more optimistic about employment as lockdown eases. Three in ten SMEs expect the number of full-time employees to increase in the course of 2021.

The way we work could also change. SMEs plan to work flexibly beyond the block. 41 percent say they will continue and don’t care where their employees are from. Three out of ten SME employers believe that employees no longer have to be on site to do a good job.

Kate Hardcastle MBE, an Independent Expert, said, “By finding new ways to work and maximizing opportunities with new technologies, some companies have been able to build stronger customer loyalty.

“In the months and even years ahead, caution will certainly be required and the persistence required cannot be trivialized. However, as more companies find better working practices for stakeholders, customers and local entrepreneurs, this could also be a symbol of a major turning point for many companies. “

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