Majority of businesses negatively affected by COVID-19

3 min read

Here at Reckon we sought to understand the real impact COVID-19 was having on our small business community.

The evidence has pointed us very clearly toward the conclusion that businesses have, by and large, been affected negatively by COVID-19 – and we have the research to confirm it.

Reckon’s research into business resilience

We recently commissioned a wide-ranging study of Australian small business leaders to investigate resilience in our business community and what we can learn from it. We conducted this research in partnership with Australian research agency Lonergan.

The aim?

“This study aimed to explore Australian Small Business Leaders’ attitudes, behaviours and perceptions regarding resilience,” Lonergan.

Using the Brief Resilience Scale for measurement, the study comprised of 514 Small Business Leaders and 505 Australians over the age of 18.

What is resilience?

The ability to successfully combat a crisis like this pandemic is at the heart of resilience. In current circumstances, resilience has never been more important.

We chatted to Australian small business leaders to discover how they feel about resilience and what it means for them.

“For me, resilience is about managing what’s in front of you and knowing that eventually something like this can actually create something beautiful,” Ryan Deale, founder of Get First Aid.

Resilience and adversity during COVID-19

What we’ve learned from our study is that uncertainty has risen sharply in our business community and that building resilience is the antidote.

Some are even considering giving up on their businesses – and they’re not alone. However, building resilience can be a remedy to this.

One thing we do know is that small business leaders with low resilience are more than twice as likely to have considered giving up on their business compared to those with high resilience.

Undoubtedly though, the effects are real and adversity has never been so acute for many of you.

8/10 businesses affected by COVID-19

We looked at a range of serious events and factors putting pressure on small businesses, such as recession, bushfires and climate change, but found that COVID-19 topped them all.

Although the number is still very high, we’ve find that business leaders are actually taking a lesser hit because of COVID-19 than regular Australians.

78% percent of business leaders rated COVID-19 as the highest pressure they’re experiencing compared with 87% of the general population. This indicates higher resilience and optimism in small business leaders, but still represents an enormous threat to business certainty in Australia.

Giving up

We now know that 55% of SBLs have felt like giving up because of the hardships they’ve faced, most commonly from the recent conditions in Australia.

Small business leaders, however, such as Breanna Grebenc, are practicing resilience and pulling through.

“The lockdown has had an immense impact on my business. We’ve had to close our doors completely. After it was announced, my staff and I took a week or two to find ourselves again and then made plans for our online classes – which we’ve just launched.  We’ve been able to pre-record lessons and put them up onto our website for the kids to access,” Breanna Grebenc, owner of Parkes Dance Co.

How you compare

We also know from our research that a quarter of business leaders like yourself are ‘very stressed’

On the bright side, more than half (56%) of small business leaders come through difficult times with little trouble, compared to less than half (46%) among gen-pop.

So, if it’s any consolation: if you’re running a business, you’re already better prepared to deal with crises and adversity compared to everyday Australians.

Let’s hear it directly from the small business community.

“Coronavirus hasn’t changed life much for me outside of work. Yes, I’ve lost plenty of my work for this year. But when everything kicks back off again, it’s going to be like, ‘Hold onto your hat.’ It’s going to be full on!” – Scott Neasham, founder of Elite DJs Perth.

Parting words of wisdom from resilient small business leaders

“I’m focusing on the things I can get on with,” Tony Bundock, founder of Genesis Horticultural Solutions.

“Life isn’t easy, but adversity can be a good thing,” Traci Wilson-Brown, WWOOF.

“You can choose to let things restrict you, or you can let them propel you forward,” Scott Neasham, founder of Elite DJs Perth.

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