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Two in three small firms expect growth in 2022

15 February 2022

British small businesses and many freelancers are getting back on track after two years of COVID disruption, according to new research.

A new report published by Small Business Britain and TSB, How to Recover, has found that 86% of UK entrepreneurs are "fighting back" and believe their business will survive this year, despite half admitting that their financial stability took a hit because of the pandemic. In fact, two-thirds (66%) of business owners say they expect their business to grow in 2022.

The How to Recover report also includes guidance for small firms on ways to adapt to change, implement new technology and build skills for the future. Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said: "The last two years have brought a rollercoaster of fortunes for small businesses … It is incredible how small businesses have used their entrepreneurial instincts to dig deep and keep going. But keep going they must! With the right mindset and the help of support networks, innovations like technology and new products and services, small businesses can make it through this crisis and be well positioned for recovery."

There is more optimism in Dun & Bradstreet's annual B2B Sales and Marketing Data Report, which has found that 87% of businesses say their sales and marketing performance has returned, or is returning, to pre-pandemic levels, despite 61% reporting a marketing and revenue services performance downturn in the past two years.

A key component of this recovery, according to the report, has been a shift in the priorities of marketing teams towards an increased use of data and digital channels. "With the pandemic having seriously limited sales and marketing teams' ability to identify and reach new customers, the renewed focus on data quality is going to play a key role in ensuring that they're able to better adapt to challenges in the future," said Will North, senior director at Dun & Bradstreet.

Meanwhile, 2022 is also looking bright for many UK freelancers, according to a study by freelancer body IPSE and tech platform Worksome. This new report has found that UK-wide staff shortages have been good news for self-employed workers, with 47% of freelancers seeing more demand for their services as a result. In addition, 16% of freelancers said that the pandemic directly led to them becoming a freelancer and of these, 57% of former full-time workers are now earning more than before and 74% say they are happier.

However, things have been tough for a significant number of freelancers, with a worrying 47% of freelancers saying that they are still concerned about their financial security. Morten Petersen, ceo and co-founder of Worksome, said: "While the freelance market may be buoyant again, it's clear that the darkest days of the pandemic and lockdown will have an impact on the freelance community for years to come. It's crucial for government, business and civil society to come together to support this group of crucial workers who were not necessarily supported as well financially during the pandemic as others."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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