Small businesses sit at the heart of the UK economy and arguably more so than larger enterprises, will face the challenges presented by the pandemic for a prolonged period of time. According to research by the ITC, two-thirds of SMEs felt that it had strongly affected their business, compared to 40% of larger companies.
A recent survey has found that Covid-19 has cost the average UK-based SME over £11,000, with the total cost exceeding £69 billion. The survey, run by Simply Business, also found that 67% have had to temporarily close, and over 230,000 SMEs have been forced to permanently stop trading.
To overcome the challenges ahead, and continue to succeed in the new working world, SMEs need to adapt their business strategy to both drive efficiencies and create new sources of revenue – and that means digital capabilities have never been more critical.
Excellent examples of SMEs adapting fast during the pandemic can be found in businesses that already had digital supply chains in place. Enabled by this, they’ve been able to rapidly pivot their high street operations online, and have seen an increase in demand for their products and services. It’s this approach and ability to adopt online services quickly that will enable SMEs to stay afloat as the pandemic’s impact continues.
The key issue with completing this transition is that for many SMEs, digital skills can be limited and many lack the financial resources to make the pivot. Given, however, that SMEs account for 99.9% of UK businesses, it’s vital that cost-effective solutions are created quickly to help boost economic efforts.
One new tool that’s being designed to do this is RapidPivot – a platform that will help SMEs quickly move their businesses online, helping them become more resilient in the new normal.
Partnering with leading online service providers, including Shopify, Xero and Square, the new platform will help users understand and develop their online capabilities. It does this by building a digital roadmap that caters to an SME’s individual needs, financial budgets and level of technical expertise.
Whether a business is simply seeking to limit cash handling, or to enable a full online delivery service, RapidPivot will offer a concise list of service recommendations, breaking down the spend and sales required to pay back the costs each month. The platform also connects the user with relevant services, giving them a great deal in the process.
The platform, which is being developed by AND Digital, was granted £50k in funding by Innovate UK. Selected from approximately 10,000 submissions, RapidPivot was chosen for its innovative approach, simplicity in design and ability to be rapidly implemented to create a wide societal impact.
Scheduled to go live in September 2020, the development team is currently looking for SME owners to test the platform – you can register your interest here.
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AND Digital have offices across the UK. The Reading office covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and The Thames Valley.