Small Businesses are the backbone of Local Communities

Ian Cass

Having just been part of the Knutsford Town Awards, presenting prizes and focusing on the role of small businesses in our local community, I’ve seen just how important they were to these communities not just in Knutsford but all over the UK during the pandemic. Small Businesses went the extra mile to help and support local people and the local community responded in turn by supporting them.

The Covid-19 pandemic moved small businesses to the centre of their local communities, local customers supported them and in many cases, they, in turn, helped and supported their local economy. They took innovative approaches and were very creative in what they did to overcome problems, they responded to local needs quickly and in many cases continued to employ people locally and grow the number of people they employed.

They used the period of lockdown to review and improve their business from a fresh lick of paint to complete revamps and overhauls.

Many embraced the digital world, with over 40% of the Forums membership having no website for their products and services this number is now well below 30%. They built social media platforms to support the website and have put digital payment systems in place. So, the Pandemic in the Forum’s opinion became a tipping point for the move into the digital world for many small businesses and there is now a need to train and support these businesses in using digital better.

Some interesting Data –

  • £3.80 of every £10 spent locally stays in the local economy, supporting local merchants and their communities.
  • 54% of people in the UK say it’s important to shop locally.
  • 18% of people in the UK own or work in a local business.
  • 68% of consumers say Covid has changed the way they use cash and pay for things into digital and cashless payments.
  • 44% of people say they would no longer shop in a place where payment requires physical contact with a device or person.
  • 67% of all businesses say their in-store experience has been improved by being able to accept contactless or digital payments.

Ian Cass 

Managing Director Forum of Private Business

Sources Visa/Cebr survey Nov 2020 & Visa back to business global study Sept 2021