It comes as no surprise to hear that a record number of small businesses are set to go to the wall this year following the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reckons 250,000 small firms could fold in 2021, assuming no further government support comes to the rescue.
While that forecast is pretty bleak – it amounts to almost 5% of the UK’s six million SMEs – there’s no time like the present to get back on the horse.
The last recession in 2008 saw Airbnb launch as a startup, while Uber was launched less than a year later. Looking back a little further, Microsoft was founded in 1975 – towards the end of the oil crisis.
We all know how those companies are faring now. Most of us have the app on our smartphones and have probably given them our custom at some point, certainly before COVID-19.
If you think about it for a minute, the pandemic clarified what has been working in the world, and what hasn’t. The haves and have nots. Here’s some advice on what to consider before starting a new business in 2021.
Hone in your strengths
Assuming the third national lockdown ends in the spring, Britons will have spent around five months at home since March 2020. For many of us, that time was spent doing things we love.
Perhaps a DIY project ignited a passion for gardening, building or a certain trade. Why not look into what qualifications and experience you need to turn your strength into a business?
I love numbers and because of that, I love being an accountant. My passion and energy shines through (at least I think it does!) and work is certainly not a chore. Playing to your strengths could give you that as well.
Online is king
Whatever type of business you’re thinking of starting this year, give serious thought to the role a user-friendly website can have. Budgeting for this will be money well spent, regardless of whether you’re planning to become a florist or plasterer.
The evidence of a dying high street is right in front of us and with lockdown closing thousands of bricks-and-mortar businesses in the last year, websites are vital to making you visible and attracting new business.
Firms with up-to-date websites, complete with ecommerce, have fared considerably better than those on the high street. Being able to trade online when others are closed keeps income coming in.
One of the truths of the pandemic in a business sense is that firms with poor cashflow have been exposed – and there are lessons all of us can learn from that.
Last week, the Prompt Payment Code was strengthened in a further attempt to crack down on late payments. Companies that sign up to the code must pay small firms in their supply chain within 30 days.
With those significant powers in place, hopefully good payment practice will become part of the new norm and that can only benefit new businesses starting up this year and beyond.
Increasingly available workforce
Redundancies are on the rise and being tipped to spike when the furlough scheme comes to an end. That’s meant to be at the end of April, although it might be extended in the Spring Budget on 3 March 2021.
While losing their job is awful for those workers, it does widen the talent pool available to you if you wish to go down the route of employing people in your new business.
There are plenty of reasons why now is a good time to start a business and we offer a business startup service to take care of the formalities. Feel free to get in touch with us and get the ball rolling.