How Bionic can help you battle business headwinds

by Les Roberts on July 1st 2020

As 2020 reaches its halfway mark, it’s safe to say things have been a bit of a struggle so far - the coronavirus outbreak, lockdown and social distancing requirements have affected every one of us to varying degrees, and will continue to do so, even as lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

As a business owner, you might feel you’ve been dealt a particularly bad hand by the pandemic - not only has your personal life been affected like anyone else, your livelihood has also been put under threat. 

Even if you’ve successfully managed to pivot your business to deal with ‘the new normal’, the uncertainty around what the future holds will still be weighing heavy on your mind.

Now, more than ever, running a small business really can feel like battling a strong headwind. 

But what’s currently bothering business owners the most? And how can Bionic help you through this next phase?

What are headwinds?

Headwinds are those challenges that business owners must overcome to keep things running smoothly, from excessive admin to problems with cash flow to spiralling overheads. At Bionic, we want to help you face those headwinds head on and make running your business a breeze.

What are the biggest headwinds facing UK business owners over the next 12 months?

To get an idea of which headwinds the UK's small business owners are most apprehensive about, we asked our community of Bionic Businesses about their biggest concerns. Here’s what they had to say…

A graph showing the headwinds most concerning UK business owners

Coronavirus remains the biggest threat to business

Unsurprisingly, more than a third (34%) of UK business owners said the threat of coronavirus infection, and all the problems associated with lockdown and social distancing, represented the biggest headwind they’re currently facing, making it the number one concern across all sectors.

This was followed by ‘Managing costs’ in second position and ‘Challenging Market Conditions’ in third, to essentially make up three prevailing that were followed by the seven other, not diminishing but arguably less powerful, headwinds.

No money, more problems

Money is always a going concern when you run your own business, and the coronavirus lockdown has had an impact on the balance sheets of businesses across all industries. 

Although the government has stepped in to offer help with business rates and cash flow, many business owners feel taxes and rates are still a worry, while a lack of cash to invest is also a source of anxiety. 

This is a problem that will have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 outbreak, as many businesses will need to invest in protective equipment and new fixtures and fittings just to stay compliant with social distancing rules.

Commercial rent could cause real issues over the next 12 months, for both landlords and tenants alike - if tenants don’t have the money to spend on rent, landlords might be forced to drop prices to make sure their properties remain occupied.

If you're looking to reopen your business, check out the Bionic business blueprint for getting out of lockdown for useful tips and information to help you get going again.

The changing face of the business landscape

It seems lockdown has been kinder to some businesses than others - while some have had no choice but to shut their doors, others have been able to pivot and make the best of a bad situation. But this could bring its own set of problems as we gradually come out of lockdown, as business owners also report that customers going online is a major cause for concern.

New competitors entering the market is another major headwind, while dealing with government regulations is cited as the sixth biggest concern of UK business owners. 

Both are issues that will have been prevalent before the Covid-19 outbreak but have since been exacerbated by lockdown and the adjustments that will need to be made moving forward. This is highlighted by the fact that a large number of small business owners are worried about the amount of time they will have over the next 12 months to spend on growing their business in comparison to the previous year. Almost half (49%) say they will have less time, compared to the 25% that said they will have more time.

Brexit means headwinds

Brexit may no longer be front of mind for many of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away. The government has said there’ll be no extension to the current transition period, which means we’ll be out of the EU on December 31st 2020. But with no deal in sight, the ongoing uncertainty has been cited as business owners’ fifth placed headwind.

Other issues of note include finding the right staff and juggling business and home life, both of which can cause business owners a major headache at the best of times, not least during lockdown.

Mental health is a major headwind

Running a business can feel like an uphill struggle at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that nearly half (48%) of UK small business owners say that running a business during the coronavirus crisis has had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.

Financial uncertainty is placing a big strain on the mental well being of the UK’s business - business owners reported managing cash, a lack of money, and paying tax and rates as potential problems moving forward.

And then there’s the issue of a healthy work/life balance. Whether you’re working flat out to keep your business going or putting every waking hour into getting it back up and running, you’ll be struggling to juggle your work and home life, a problem that was cited as the eighth biggest headwind by business owners.

Commenting on the research, Paul Galligan, CEO of Bionic, said:  “The last three months have seen business owners fighting hard to keep their businesses afloat. This has, sadly but inevitably, taken its toll on the mental wellbeing of many. It is understandably a worrying time for many businesses and the full impact of the crisis has still not been fully realised.”

He added: “The likelihood is that there are still many headwinds for small business owners to overcome in the months and years ahead, some more and some less directly impacted by Covid-19. Keeping a handle on costs and finding ways to continually pivot will be key to survival.”

If you’ve been struggling with mental health problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis, it’s worth checking out the guide to coronavirus and your wellbeing at Mind.co.uk. As a business owner, it’s also worth taking a look at the Federation of Small Businesses guide to mental well being and running a business.

If you would sooner speak to someone about your concerns, you can contact the following UK mental health charities:

  • Mind - 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
  • Samaritans - 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

How Bionic can help your business battle headwinds

Supply chains have been a big problem during the coronavirus lockdown, as a break in the supply of goods or services caused businesses further down the chain to stop trading. As things slowly start to return to something approaching normal, supply chains start up again and you begin to get back to business, so your business admin begins to pile up once more - something which has been cited as the ninth most worrying headwind.

The good news is that this is where our tech-enabled experts can help out. Part of our mission statement at Bionic is that we want to make it radically easier to run a small business by helping take away the time and effort involved in sorting your business essentials.

We do this by helping you get your business essentials boxed off, quickly and thoroughly. Products like business energy, insurance and telecoms that might not be front of mind, but are a critical part of running your business.

We’ve been helping businesses to save time and money on their business essentials since 2007, so we know how difficult it can be to find the right deals on business energy and business connectivity, and how frustrating it can be trying to find business insurance that’s tailored to meet your unique needs.

And we’ll not only help you save time, we’ll help you save money too. Here are the average annual savings businesses can make when switching with Bionic:

That adds up to a total average saving of £1,797 a year. For more information, go to https://bionic.co.uk/about-bionic/how-our-service-works/.

To see how much time and money you could save, call our tech-enabled team now on 0800 086 1276 or enter your postcode at Bionic.co.uk.