Following two years of uncertainty and consecutive lockdowns, 61 per cent of business leaders said that they are seeking business finance to expand and hire in 2022. Furthermore, 63 per cent revealed that they already have plans to look for equity investment in their business during 2022.
The polling was contained in a major new study by Capitalise, the UK founded platform that gives small businesses and their adviser transparency and control over their business finance all in one place.
The report, titled ‘Get Fit for Business‘, commissioned independent research company Censuswide to poll 500 UK-based small business decision-makers in December 2021.
The data revealed that 38 per cent of business leaders wanted to better understand their financial health, and 58 per cent need help understanding business finance. Also, 58 per cent are planning to engage with a business mentor in 2022.
Interestingly, the report revealed that three-quarters (75 per cent) of business leaders’ confidence has surged, after reflecting upon the way their business was able to adapt during the pandemic.
However, 75 per cent admitted that the last two years were incredibly stressful – but that they had hidden that stress from their team. Leaders clearly recognised the need to de-stress, however, with almost 73 per cent trying a stress-relieving activity such as yoga or meditation for the first time.
Furthermore, when asked about their health and wellbeing, 83 per cent agreed that they do their best work when they’ve had enough sleep and are eating and exercising well. But, 71 per cent said that working from home has left them feeling less physically fit.
As a result, the report also revealed that 78 per cent of business leaders have increased investment in the health and wellbeing of their team, knowing that this creates a happier and more productive workforce. Especially as 30 per cent said that keeping their team motivated was their biggest concern – this figure increased for healthcare, retail and transport sectors, which is understandable given the pressures placed on these industries during the pandemic.
But, despite some business leaders feeling burnt out (21 per cent), over three quarters (76 per cent) said that they are feeling optimistic about 2022.
Commenting on the research findings, Minister for Small Business, Paul Scully MP, said: “Small businesses, operating under difficult circumstances, have performed incredibly well during the past two years. I am pleased to see the biggest priority for small business leaders remains expansion and growth, crucial for jobs in local areas, and the economy.
“I am also encouraged to see more focus on staff wellbeing. This ensures a healthier and more productive workforce, who are the backbone of the British economy.”
Paul Surtees, CEO and Co-Founder of Capitalise adds: “The last few years have been tough for small businesses, as lockdowns and an ever-changing business environment has left business owners feeling exhausted. That’s why now, more than ever, business leaders need help, whether mentally, physically, or via external support such as from their accountant, a coach and a platform like Capitalise.
“Capitalise can help small businesses discover a healthier way to do business in 2022. We’ve got a complete programme of hard-hitting research, wellness videos and all the insights, support and tips you need to get financially, physically and mentally get fit for business.
“We’ll get business owners running the numbers and running around the block. They’ll be able to learn how their credit score impacts business growth and the impact a great night’s sleep can have on productivity. And, we’ll make finding funding feel a little easier.”
Derrick Evans MBE, the British fitness instructor and expert advisor for this report, explains: “Getting up and being active is the first step to a healthier lifestyle and positive mental outlook, but often that first step can be the hardest. Leaders of busy businesses are regularly strapped for time and energy, but even just standing up and sitting down every hour is enough to get your blood circulating. Sometimes a few minutes of deep breathing between meetings is all it takes to focus your thoughts.
“Just like how business leaders demonstrate care for their employees, and bravery in boardrooms, they need to start taking care of themselves. Business leaders: check in with your people but also check in with yourself. Pick up the phone just to ask someone how they’re doing and if they ask you the same question, be honest in your answer. Getting fit for business is a team sport.”