A quarter (25 per cent) of small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) leaders feel optimistic about reopening but others are reporting anxiety and stress, research from Nucleus Commercial Finance has revealed.
The survey found that a 24 per cent of SME leaders feel motivated to get back to work, with 32 per cent saying they want to reconnect with customers. 32 per cent are excited to return to their working routine and 29 per cent said they are looking forward to getting back to profitability.
However, some SME owners said they feel anxious (21 per cent), stressed (17 per cent) and worried (15 per cent), while just one in 10 (nine per cent) feel supported.
When it comes to reopening their business, many SME owners are concerned about their staff and customers.
One in five (21 per cent) are most concerned about the welfare of their staff and a similar amount (18 per cent) believe that motivating staff will be their biggest challenge.
From a customer perspective, more than one in five (21 per cent) said ensuring customers adhere to social distancing is a huge challenge, 19 per cent are concerned about implementing new health and safety measures, and 16 per cent are worried about reduced footfall due to capacity limitations.
“After a year of restrictions and months of closures, it’s encouraging to see so many SME leaders are optimistic about the return to work,” said Chirag Shah, chief executive of Nucleus Commercial Finance.
“Not only are businesses looking forward to improving their financial situation, but many are excited to reconnect with staff and customers; something communities across the UK have been missing out on.
“However, it’s clear that there is no one size fits all when it comes to reopening their businesses. There are significant practical challenges of keeping staff and customers safe, but also the difficulties of managing finances, such as buying new stock, paying returning staff and implementing new technology.
“Government and industry must work together to raise awareness of the support measures available, and reassure business owners that there is help at hand which can be tailored to their unique circumstances and delivered at speed, to support them through the pandemic and beyond.”