MANY small firms are struggling to emerge from the ravages of lockdown.
One in nine have laid off staff and 67 per cent have furloughed employees, the Federation of Small Businesses reports.
Here are free support schemes to help you bounce back . . .
- THE ‘RECOVERY ADVICE FOR BUSINESS’ SCHEME: Thousands of experts are offering online legal, marketing, recruitment, digital and accountancy help via this project from start-up network Enterprise Nation.
- INDIE BIZ LIVE: This online festival next Thursday, run by TV business expert Kate Hardcastle and backed by TV stars, will feature videos of the best indie businesses.
- THE GREAT BRITISH BOUNCE BACK: This publicity platform provides personalised media and PR support for just £10 per business — and the first 500 firms who sign up get the package for free.
- AMAZON SMALL BUSINESS ACCELERATOR: This new e-learning scheme offers modules from top businesspeople.
Speakers include Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, and Lucy Hall, named the country’s most influential woman in tech by Computer World magazine. Choose from Start, Grow or Turbo.
Sign up at enterprisenation.com/accelerator.
Bounce back Britain
BEAUTICIAN Bing Langston runs her own hair and beauty salon and has finally reopened – but says support for businesses such as hers is crucial.
The 40-year-old single mum says: “The free support schemes for small business are a lifeline.
“It’s heart-warming to know so many people want owners to succeed and are willing to give their own time and experience for free. It really does help us strive even harder.”
Bing, who runs Aurora Hair and Beauty in Kingston, South West London, adds: “Since lockdown began, I have had zero money coming in but the bills have still had to be paid, so this is the worst thing that could happen to any small firm.
“My shop is finally open again and I am working seven days a week to make sure my customers have everything they want.
“But it will be a long time before beauty salons get back to normal. Some customers are wary about safety and PPE, while others have lost their own jobs so are understandably cutting back on what they spend money on.”
Tips to raise you up
IS IT possible to build your small business during even these most challenging of times?
Joanna Jensen, who set up leading baby-toiletries brand Childs Farm during the 2008 financial crash, reckons the answer to that question is a resounding YES.
She believes businesses can use the “unlockdown” time right now – as months of restrictions are finally eased – to turn themselves around.
Here, Joanna shares some of her top tips . . .
- Don’t give up on yourself. If you can dream it, then you can do it.
- Fortune tends to favour the brave, so small firms need to be agile, think out of the box, innovate and not be afraid to take risks. Of course, this is hard when you are looking over a precipice, but being fearless is often a key success factor for successful business.
- Try to think about how you may be able to deliver your products or services to customers in different ways from before. Safety and convenience are really important things to think about during this time of coronavirus.
- Shop locally and with independent companies where you are able to, and share the love with your friends on social media.
- Always go with your gut feeling – and try to surround yourself with positive people.
Avon calling you?
WANT to set up your own small business but don’t want to go it alone?
Then consider becoming an Avon rep.
The beauty firm has seen a 114 per cent surge in new reps across the UK since lockdown.
The flexible roles may suit those made redundant and can even fit around existing jobs.
Carolyn Haywood, 37, from Winstanley, Greater Manchester, swapped working 60 hours a week as an accountant to be a full-time Avon seller.
She said: “Avon has opened up so many opportunities. It has totally changed my work life-style to be flexible around me.
“You are out in the community and meeting new people and helping others each day.”
Keep it in the family
FAMILY firms are vital to helping the economy recover from its recent battering.
They account for one in five of the 1,551 largest companies in the UK, according to the Institute for Family Business.
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These pillars of our prosperity employ more than 13million people, generate a quarter of gross domestic product and cough up more than £180 billion a year in tax.
Elizabeth Bagger, Director General of the Institute for Family Business, says: “People often assume when we talk about these firms, that it exclusively refers to small businesses.
“This latest research demonstrates this community’s diversity in terms of business size, geographic location and sector.”
UK STAYCATION platform the Rest Easy Group is taking on new Customer Service Representatives.