The reinvention of British businessesThe effects of COVID-19 have stricken British businesses across all industries, accelerated the rise of remote work, and forced millions to register as unemployed, with millions more furloughed for the foreseeable future. UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned that the country’s economy could shrink by 35% by June, before beginning to recover. The UK is predicted to resume its pre-crisis growth by the end of the year, but in the meantime, businesses are struggling to keep the lights on until they can start generating meaningful revenue again. Marcus O’Toole of Mastercard Europe’s Small Business Segment noted: “When small businesses suffer, local economies suffer and Mastercard is pleased to be supporting these important pillars of our communities in a meaningful way.” To that end, O’Toole is confident that Mastercard’s partnership with vcita will “enable micro and small business owners to drive efficiency into their businesses at such a critical time.”
Digital trumps physicalThe growth in digital services is expected to create opportunities for traditional businesses, as well as startups, to exploit. SMEs whose founders are willing to adapt to this new environment, and retool their operation to drive greater efficiencies, will prosper. vcita and Mastercard are confident their Business Unusual platform will help small and medium sized businesses realise their potential, through a learning hub that provides actionable advice founders can put into practice. The application features built-in automation tools, enabling businesses to reduce their administrative workload and focus on their core operations. It will be offered for free to small and micro business owners that are part of Mastercard’s European network for the first three months. SMEs have suffered mixed fortunes during 2020, with the winners being those that have quickly acclimatised to the new paradigm in which they find themselves. Bistro restaurants have begun providing home delivery of gourmet meals, and psychiatrists have taken to providing counselling over video link. Not all businesses are able to go digital, of course, but all companies can find ways to reduce administrative costs and keep outgoings to a minimum until economic conditions pick up.
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