// The small business sector is showing positive signs of growth despite economic forecasts predicting a 10% contraction of GDP in the first half of 2020…
The past few months have undoubtedly been a challenging time for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
As the COVID-19 crisis kicked in, many SMEs were forced to close their doors temporarily as social distancing restrictions were implemented. These measures required many small businesses to adapt, innovate and remain industrious whilst weathering the storm.
However, a recent business impact index from BizCover reveals cautious optimism among the SME sector.
Prior to Easter – when Australia was still trying to flatten the COVID-19 curve – the index saw the highest level of business cancellations, peaking at 83% above BizCover’s normal rates.
Additionally, there were declines in Enquiries and New Business Clients which saw respective dips of 41% and 53% below baseline levels at their lowest point during Easter.
However, since Easter, new business sales improved dramatically from the lows of early April and enquiries rose 11% above pre-pandemic levels.
This is likely due to the easing of restrictions around the country, says BizCover CEO, Michael Gottlieb.
“Personal trainers are a prime example of an industry springing back. The moment it was announced that trainers could run outdoor boot camps of up to 10 people, we saw the average number of daily enquiries by personal trainers increase 125% over the average for the previous six weeks.
Daily enquiries by personal trainers also increased to way above pre-COVID-19 averages, being 49% above average number of daily enquiries for the first quarter of 2020.”Michael Gottlieb
Cancellations have also normalised, showing how small businesses have found news ways to continue trading, despite some of the restrictions still in place.
BizCover also reported an increase in the number of enquiries from people who had lost their jobs that were now looking to set up their own business. Go startups!
“It’s a testament to the Australian spirit that many have found the strength to adapt, move forward and rebuild their livelihoods after such a difficult period,” he said.
“Many have found the silver lining in this economic and health crisis and used it to forge ahead as entrepreneurs in their own right.”
Despite the setbacks SMEs have experienced due to COVID-19, it is encouraging to see many of them bouncing back.