Twice as many British companies are concerned about the second wave of coronavirus than are worried about Brexit, according to research by commercial finance provider Nucleus Commercial Finance.

The findings were published on October 26, so Covid-19 worries may since have been further heightened for companies by the Hallowe’en announcement of the second national lockdown.

When asked to state their biggest concerns for the coming year, 48% of the companies surveyed – which were all small and medium sized businesses – said they were concerned about the impact of a second wave of coronavirus. The second and third largest concerns were also related to Covid: reduced consumer spending due to lack of financial confidence was a concern for 28% of respondents and their company not recovering from the impact of coronavirus was a concern for 25%.

Concerns over the impact of Brexit, and whether the UK strikes a trade deal, were mentioned by 24%. 15% said they were concerned about the possibility of having to close their business during the next 12 months and 14% were worried about having to lay off staff – conceivably these worries could relate to coronavirus, Brexit or to other factors, depending on the individual circumstances of each business.

18% of companies boldly stated that they were not fearful of anything in the year ahead, but this of course means that 82% are worried about something.

Younger business owners were, in general, less concerned about the potential impact of Covid-19. Where the person who replied on behalf of the company was aged 18 to 34, only 38% listed the virus as one of their main business concerns. This rose to 49% in the 55 plus age group and was highest in the 35 to 54 age group, at 52%.

71% of respondents said that the health emergency had either already caused them to alter their business strategy, or to plan to change their strategy in the foreseeable future.

When asked how they had altered their business strategy to adapt to Covid-19, 27% said they had made greater use of remote working, 19% said they were offering their products and services online and 13% said they were now offering new products and services.

Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance, said:

“It’s natural that given the current uncertainty, businesses are fearful of the future and the impact of significant events such as a second wave of coronavirus and Brexit. However, UK SMEs are demonstrating considerable resilience, and we expect they will continue to do so.

We know that there is a role for alternative lenders to play in helping Britain’s businesses and supporting them in achieving their goals. Together, we can support SMEs to ensure they are equipped to tackle any further challenges thrown their way, as well as boost their performance – and, ultimately, stimulate economic growth.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware of the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article