The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired sustainable and scaling businesses, new research from Studio Graphene has revealed.
The London-based digital agency, which commissioned an independent survey of 2,000 UK adults, found that 15% had started a business during the pandemic. Of these 298 founders, 72% say their startup is now their main professional focus.
The majority (57%) of people who have created a new business in the midst of the pandemic say it was launched in response to the new problems presented by Covid-19. Over half (54%) admitted that their business will perform less well now lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
However, in light of the volatile economic climate, 58% of the new startup founders surveyed said they would prefer to run their own company rather than depend on an employer.
Looking ahead, the majority (55%) of Covid-inspired entrepreneurs plan to invest in a dedicated physical workspace in the coming 12 months, while 56% plan to hire more people.
Studio Graphene’s research found that 60% of the new startup founders have experienced financial setbacks, which have hampered efforts to get their business off the ground. A lack of digital skills was also cited as an obstacle by 55% of small business owners, with a similar number (58%) saying they plan to enlist the help of an IT developer, agency or consultant in the coming months.
Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have been used by 58% of respondents to build and grow their business. Just over half (54%) have taken advantage of government support schemes.
Says Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene:
“Covid-19 has showcased the ingenuity of Britons, yet the recent lifting of lockdown restrictions will further test the viability of many businesses launched during the pandemic. Positively, our research suggests that many of these new startups, which may have originally been ‘passion projects’ or side hustles, are in fact long-term pursuits, with the founders looking to invest in both new hires and even physical workspaces.
“Importantly, the key to building a lasting business is ensuring that a product or service evolves as market demands change. I would encourage new entrepreneurs to proactively pivot their offerings as the world cautiously emerges from the worst of the pandemic. To that end, it’s great to see many are already looking to enlist the support of third-party experts that can help them succeed, particularly when it comes to technology and digital experiences.”