SME Owners in Wales are well-placed to ensure their firms recover, post-Covid, thanks to their innate entrepreneurial skills.
So says the owner of Newport-based Storage Giant, which has supported more than 1000 SMEs at their Welsh sites alone. The company, which has facilities in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Cwmbran and across the UK, has seen a marked spike in start-ups at their sites during the pandemic.
Storage Giant MD, Simon Williams, says SME owners are inherently resilient and well-armed to nurture their companies back to heath, as the pandemic begins to loosen its grip.
“I know there is a lot of anxiety among business owners in all sectors about the post-Covid recovery, but it was heartening to read in that four in five (80 percent) of UK SMEs are confident they will recover from Covid, according to research from digital bank Starling and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA) released recently.
“Here at Storage Giant we are continuing to invest and we are pressing ahead with our own plans to open three new facilities in the UK 2021. And we see new start-ups set up their businesses with us every month, as well as fledging firms under our roof pivot their operations keep hold of their clients throughout the pandemic. SME owners are well-placed to lead the post-Covid recovery, particularly here in Wales, where there is such a robust network of SMEs and associated supply chains.
“Clearly, the outlook for small businesses varies greatly by industry, but SMEs are already very disciplined when it comes to cost management, they are agile when it comes to reacting to crises and pivoting their operations. SMEs are also particularly savvy when it comes to driving down costs and accessing finance.
“SMEs owners are very good at adhering to their business plan and I would advise any SME looking to sharpen up their operations to fine-tune their plan, according to most recent financial statements, to adjust to what may be a new business reality. So, for example, now might be the time to focus upon digital expansion. Pay attention to trends within your industry, and seek out the opportunities that have opened up in this new landscape.”
According to that Starling report, nearly two in five (39 percent) of firms have changed their line of business to survive the impact of the pandemic.
“We have seen many of the SMEs under our roof keeping in touch with their client base throughout the pandemic, and again, this sense of having a continual personal dialogue with customers and clients is very much a hallmark of running an effective small business.
“Those of us who run SMEs know that is a steep learning curve and we are acutely aware that if we don’t learn from our mistakes, or from disruptions like the pandemic, that our business may not survive, so it is in our DNA to learn from major shocks and to take steps to insulate the business against the next one. This is why, I think, two thirds of the business owners questioned in that report believe they will return to pre-Covid levels or better by 2021.”