Small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) leaders believe it will take on average 12 months for their business to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic, according to a new survey.
Research commissioned by Nucleus Commercial Finance revealed over half a million SMEs (590,000) said it will take between 10 and 12 months to make up the lost revenue caused by the Covid-19 crisis and 1.6 million said between 10 months and two years.
Following lockdown restrictions easing in England this month, medium-sized businesses are the most confident about their recovery, with over a quarter (27 per cent) saying it will take them between seven to nine months to return to a pre-coronavirus financial state.
Small-sized businesses are slightly less optimistic, with a quarter (25 per cent) believing it will take them between 10 and 12 months.
However, the pandemic is expected to have a lasting impact for some, with nearly one in five (18 per cent) sole traders concerned that their businesses will never recover from the lost revenue.
The research also found that younger business owners, those aged 18 to 34, are more optimistic about making up lost revenue, with 23 per cent hoping to see a recovery in the first four to six months.
Meanwhile 24 per cent of business owners aged 55 and over believe it will take at least a year or two for their business to recover.
Business owners in London and the South East are most optimistic about business recovery while those in the North West and South West are the least optimistic.
24 per cent of SME leaders in the South East forecasted a recovery within 10 to 12 months, 25 per cent of those in London hope for it within seven to nine months while 50 per cent of SME leaders in the North West and South West predicted a recovery to take one to two years.
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“While the trepidations of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions will have lasting effects for many British businesses, it’s encouraging to see such optimism among SMEs about their projected finances as they return to business as usual,” said Chirag Shah, chief executive of Nucleus Commercial Finance.
“However, the roadmap out of lockdown will not be without its challenges. As businesses across the country begin to reopen, government and industry must collectively raise awareness of the varying support measures available to aid these businesses in their longer-term recovery, ultimately providing a much-needed boost to our economy.”