Boost for local businesses

It seems people are pulling together to help local businesses out of lockdown, as two thirds of people say they’ll shop local to support small businesses.

Businesses right across the UK have been plunged into the depths of economic despair due to the coronavirus pandemic – between March and June alone, a staggering 649,000 UK employees were left unemployed as a result of lockdown.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy – the 5.9 million across the UK make up over 99% of all businesses – but it appears many would-be entrepreneurs are now too afraid to start their own business, given the uncertainty of the economy over the next few months and possibly years.

But shoppers are on hand to help out by buying local.

Who would start a business now?

A survey carried out by InvestingReviews.co.uk, providers of expert and impartial reviews of the UK investment market has found that which revealed that less than 1 in 5 (17%) would-be entrepreneurs would consider starting their own business now. The ongoing problems caused by the pandemic is understandably putting people of ploughing money into a new venture when the future is still so uncertain.

The study of of 3,000 UK residents aged 18 and above also found that although this is the case right across the UK, levels of optimism vary by region. In the north east of England, for instance, only 13% would start their own business right now. This figure barely rises to 14% across in the north west of England. But almost a quarter (24%) of Londoners are more optimistic that new business opportunities await.

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But the pandemic seems to have also created a positive shift in consumer behaviour, three-quarters (73%) confirming they are making efforts to shop at and support local businesses during this time, rather than large franchises and chain stores.

Shop local to save businesses and help the planet

Products and materials sourced closer to home are usually more sustainable as they produce fewer carbon emissions, they can also be more expensive – but higher quality – than those you may find at large chain stores. Despite this, nearly half (49%) of respondents say they would be prepared to pay a premium for local products, rather than buy cheaper ones at larger retailers, given the severe strain on local businesses at the moment.

If you are an entrepreneur, there are some benefits to working from home on your own terms, such as no daily commute. However, there is no denying the loneliness that can arise as a result of working on your own without the company of colleagues. In fact, over a third (36%) entrepreneurs who have been working from home say they have realised they prefer working with colleagues due to the loneliness of being on their own.

Studies show that the current job forecast is the weakest it has been in the UK since 1992, therefore, it is perhaps understandable why over three-quarters (76%) of people believe the economic effects of the pandemic will be the worst they experience in their lifetime. This is a situation that could be exacerbated as the government furlough scheme is due to end soon.

Lastly, over a quarter (29%) respondents admit they would try to talk a friend or family member out of starting their own business, given the current economic climate.

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