Telling the truth about SME life today

Why the best entrepreneurs are optimistic realists

Pimlico Plumbers boss, Charlie Mullins talks all things optimistic and why this mindset is essential for entrepreneurs during this challenging time…

In my experience, the best entrepreneurs are optimistic realists. Their desire for business success drives them on and, even in the darkest of times, they summon up all their positivity and creativity to keep things going.

Throughout this crisis, I have been cheered up by the numerous small business people who have appeared on radio and TV who, on the whole, have avoided a ?woe is me attitude and come out fighting with their plans for reopening and how they are not going to let the virus be the end of their businesses.

And it is down to these members of the ?glass half full brigade that will be at the heart of the country’s economic recovery.

Assuming that we re not all going to be hammered too hard by the extra tax to cover the cost of the government’s support packages, there’s an air of positivity among a lot of businesses that they can come out the other side of this in good shape.

Yes, that shape might be a little bit different than before; we all have to cut our cloth accordingly to fit the world we re operating in, but there will be some leaner, more agile firms out there ready to start increasing the pace of their journey on the road to recovery.

It appears, already, in the early days of the lifting of lockdown restrictions, that green shoots may be starting to push their way to the surface. Signs are there that small businesses are returning to a position where they can not only focus on the short term but also start to think about the future.

One piece of evidence of this trend comes from the recent Barclaycard Payments” SME Barometer.

While it is very frank about the short-term outlook, which is quite negative, there are signs of life in the SME sector, which offers a lot of hope for the economy and the millions of jobs that are supported by the UK’s entrepreneurial businesses.

The report reveals that UK SME revenue is predicted to fall by 28% in the second quarter of the year, with three-quarters of firms expecting coronavirus to have a significant impact for the next three months.

However, this figure drops to less than 20% after 12 months and to just 8% after two years, which is more of a positive outlook than many would have thought.

Another note of optimism comes from Barclaycard Payment data, which reports that the number of its SME clients actively taking payments has increased by 24% since the lowest point in early April, shortly after the start of lockdown.

Sticking up a virtually closed sign across Britain sent a shockwave through the country, the population, and the economy. Slowly, but surely, as people, and the businesses that we’re able to operate either remotely or as essential services, adjusted to this seismic shift, a level of activity did resume.

Even more heartening was the belief that entrepreneurs will see their enterprises take an upward turn in the future with two-thirds of SMEs questioned by Barclaycard Payments planning to invest in their businesses over the next 12 months.

It is this optimistic realism that will be instrumental in tackling this recession head-on.

As a nation on entrepreneurs, we are renowned for adapting to the landscape around us so we can put our noses to the grindstone and make a success of our businesses.

It will require innovation, confidence, and good old-fashioned sheer bloody-mindedness. These are qualities that the majority of our SMEs have in spades.

Stay safe and stay in business.



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