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Business owners relied on peer-to-peer support during COVID-19 lockdown, research finds 

90% of business owners found the support of like-minded professionals instrumental during the first COVID-19 lockdown, according to new research by leading business support provider, BizSmart®. 

The research, which surveyed business owners from across the Worcestershire region on their experience of peer-to-peer support during COVID-19, revealed that nearly all [92%] respondents cited clear benefits of engaging with like-minded professionals; with 40% confirming they found the guidance and advice from other business owners integral during the pandemic, 34% advising they were motivated by positive conversation and 18% revealing it was helpful to know other business owners experienced similar challenges.  

When questioned on the financial impact of COVID-19 on their business, just 30% of business owners advised their turnover has increased during the pandemic, with 22% losing between 0 – 20% of revenue, 26% confirming a 20 – 40% loss and 22% revealing a concerning 40% plus loss in annual turnover. 

Overall, 71% of respondents confirmed they are concerned about the impact of the second COVID-19 wave on their business, with 80% believing the majority of UK business leaders would benefit from peer-to-peer support as the country continues to navigate through the pandemic. This also supported by the fact 46% of respondents confirmed they would first turn to a fellow entrepreneur when seeking business advice. 

This research comes as BizSmart® announces the launch of its new franchise model, which not only provides proven professionals with the opportunity to build and establish their own business support offering under the BizSmart® umbrella, but also extends vital support to professionals likely to benefit from peer-to-peer learning and engagement during this economically challenging time.  

Kevin Brent, founder and managing director of BizSmart®, explained: “According to research peer-to-peer business support enables businesses to advance growth by two to three times their normal levels. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 90% of business owners have found peer-to-peer support instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a further 80% believe business owners UK wide would find it helpful. 

“In launching the new BizSmart® Franchise model, we not only look forward to working closely with aspiring business support professionals looking to grow and develop their own individual Franchise, but also to extending our proven business support programmes to businesses across the country, particularly during this difficult period.” 

Other key take outs from the research include: 

A massive 94% of business owners confirmed they are concerned about the impact of the second COVID-19 wave on the UK economy. 

52% of respondents advised they were part of peer-to-peer support group prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Of these, the vast majority confirmed they find the group beneficial as it challenges their thinking and helps them to implement new ideas within their business. In addition, respondents cited the value of accountability, with peer-to-peer support groups forcing them to make decisive changes. 

When compared to other sources of business support, just 8% revealed they would seek advice from a close family member or friend; demonstrating the value of working with like-minded professionals.  

Headquartered in Worcestershire, BizSmart® has successfully established itself as a leading business support provider by developing a series of proven support programmes with a key focus on bringing like-minded business leaders together via peer-to-peer learning and engagement. 

Launched in November, BizSmart Franchises are available in key regions across the West Midlands, including central Birmingham.