2022 has been a difficult year for everyone. Still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, households across the UK have had to cope with soaring fuel prices, rising energy bills, and an increase in everything from food shopping to public transport. But it’s not just individuals who have been struggling. For small businesses, it’s been an annus horribilis of epic proportions.
All over the country, companies are struggling to survive in the face of rising costs and the public with less money to spend. But if you’re a small business owner, you don’t have to take things lying down. Instead, consider what moves you can make to counteract inflation and future-proof your business for many years to come.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, thing to consider is raising your prices. Although you don’t want to alienate your customers by pricing things too highly — particularly when disposable incomes are at an all-time low — you can’t be expected to absorb all the costs of the current crisis either. So if you’re struggling to pay your bills for things like shipping and energy, or paying much more for stock in a post-Brexit world, you might need to consider charging a little more for the end product.
If that’s not an option for your business, though, you can look at other ways to cut costs. Take a look at any third-party contracts, for example: do you really need an external company to provide services such as marketing and PR? Or could you do it in-house for a fraction of the cost? Alternatively, could a subscription-based model be an option for your business? In these times of uncertainty, many are turning to this pricing option as a way to sustain themselves and improve the value of their company. You might also want to consider making the switch to working from home if you’re not already — the simple act of renting an office costs many businesses in the region of £10,000 every year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, experts are also advising that now might not be the best time to follow through on any expansion plans. While some businesses will remain mercifully protected from the worst of the ongoing crisis, any companies that might be considered at risk should probably hold back before splashing huge amounts of cash on a new project. Instead, the focus should be on sustainability in the months to come.
Finally, small businesses should make sure that they are taking advantage of all the government help available in 2022 and beyond. For example, the Employment Allowance, which allows small businesses to claim money off their employer National Insurance Contributions, has recently increased to £5,000. And with public pressure mounting, more assistance is expected to be announced soon.
There’s no denying that small businesses will face many challenges in the months ahead. But with a little careful planning, you can survive the crisis intact, ready to take advantage of whatever new opportunities the future might bring.