Mark Supperstone, Managing Partner at ReSolve, a restructuring and investment practice, on how he believes 2021 will pan out for the UK’s entrepreneurs and SMEs:
- Further Government assistance for employers. Whilst the furlough scheme was previously slated to end in March, the Chancellor has now extended this until April, and we suspect it may be extended even further on a month by month basis. One the one hand, this is an interesting experiment in the temporary adoption of economic socialism in the UK which will be one for future undergraduate economics textbooks. On the other hand, it suggests that Tier 4-style lockdowns may continue until Easter…business owners should brace themselves.
2. SMEs will continue to struggle and many will lose the fight. There is really no way around this, unfortunately. The effects of extended lockdowns, severe reduction in custom, and change in customers’ behaviour, is going to be too much for many small and medium sized enterprises (SME). As a leading insolvency practitioner, ReSolve’s advice for struggling businesses remains, as ever: act early and act decisively. Don’t wait until you are on the precipice. Take independent advice quickly – there may well be options which will enable you to keep trading.
3. Brexit chaos. No crystal ball needed for this one! Many businesses are not ready or are confused as to what arrangements they are supposed to make. The early months of 2021 will see protracted challenges to supply chains – ReSolve expects to be busy advising clients on how to streamline their operations and adapt to new regulations with the minimum impact on business.
4. A great re-financing. ReSolve is expert in negotiating on behalf of our clients to re-finance debt and enable our clients to survive and keep trading. We foresee an enormous wave of SMEs looking to re-finance debt in the first half of next year as Government support is removed. We hope that banks will take a proactive, collaborative and supportive stance.
5. A new wave of entrepreneurship. I’m relieved to be able to find a light amidst the gloom! The experience of Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way that people do both business and leisure and I fully expect to see a wave of start-ups catering to our new way of living – especially for Gen Z-ers, who are digital natives and for whom the traditional job market may seem constrained. If there is one thing the UK excels at, it’s in adapting to difficult circumstances and finding a way forward. I’m looking forward to seeing what our new generation of entrepreneurs have to offer.