57% of small
businesses are playing critical roles within their community to help people get
through these difficult times
As the UK continues to face the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, many are lending a helping hand to those who need it the most. Even though small businesses across the UK are shut down, they are still going out of their way to help vulnerable members of the community and provide extra services to their customers. These businesses are playing a critical role in helping the community get through the tough times, a report from the Federation of Small Businesses has shown.
Although thousands of small firms and self-employed individuals have shut down operations during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has revealed many are engaging with their local towns, cities, and local areas to selflessly help their communities. The Federation of Small Businesses’ new report, New Horizons, highlights how thousands of small firms are going out of their way to help the vulnerable, saving jobs and finding new ways to keep businesses operating.
According to the report, 57% of small firms are carrying out community roles during the coronavirus crisis. 23% of small businesses are helping key workers by providing PPE, volunteering and offering accommodation to the vulnerable. Meanwhile, 30% of all small business owners prioritised and supported vulnerable customers, with 19% of businesses offering free home deliveries. 16% of small businesses developed a new online presence or increased their existing one.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry, said: “These are very uncertain times for all businesses, with futures unknown. Small firms have long been the champions of innovating, adapting and engaging with others especially during difficult periods, and the current situation is no exception.
“Right across the country we are seeing countless acts of kindness, volunteers and community efforts on display from small businesses and the self-employed, helping each other to survive, recover and thrive.
“Since the crisis started, we’ve seen how more than half of all small firms (57%) are carrying out key roles in their communities, with about a third prioritising their businesses for the vulnerable and about a quarter donating provisions to food banks.
“This is a testament to the efforts of all of the country’s 5.8 million small businesses and their importance to local communities.
“Small firms have also played a crucial role in supporting our key workers. Around a quarter (23%) have stepped up in some way to aid key workers, whether that be through volunteering or returning to work for the NHS, providing critical PPE and hand sanitisers as well as offering up support and accommodation for those professionals who are working tirelessly to save lives.
“Small businesses have introduced new creative solutions and frugally innovated to keep afloat and help others at this critical time. They have developed a wide range of innovative marketing strategies to provide their products and services during the lockdown.
“Small businesses remain the backbone of the economy, pillars of local communities and crucial outlets of support. Government support has ensured that many of these businesses can either continue to trade in some way or pick up where they left off after the crisis. That’s why it’s more important than ever to support our small businesses wherever possible.”
Small businesses are pulling their resources to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic, even though they too are facing devastating impacts on their business operations. Many small businesses have reinvented their business models, products, services and business practices – and several companies have enhanced their existing digital services to cope with the changing times. It is essential that the government continue funding and supporting small businesses to enable them to utilise digital technologies and bounce back once the crisis ends.