Only 8% of SME business leaders feel supported during the third national lockdown, according to new research from Nucleus Commercial Finance.
Half (50%) of respondents reported feeling “worried or depressed” about the current lockdown, while 38% feel anxious about it. In addition, 38% of respondents felt stressed, 22% felt “lost/lacking direction”, 16% felt alone and 15% felt overwhelmed.
More than half of SME leaders (54%) said their feelings towards the current lockdown are having a negative impact on all aspects of the business.
A further 31% said lockdown is having an impact on their ability to plan ahead, while a 26% say their “negative state of mind” is affecting the day-to-day running of the business.
In addition, lockdown is having an impact on business leaders’ relationships with employees, with 10% saying their own negative emotions are affecting employee morale.
Despite these findings, 31% of SME leaders said they have a network of peers they are engaging with to help them and their business during the current lockdown restrictions, and a further 16% said they are planning to engage with a network of peers.
However, nearly a quarter (24%) say they don’t have access to a network of peers and a further 22% say they don’t feel the need to get support. Alongside its findings, Nucleus Commercial Finance stressed it is “vital” to have access to support during the current climate.
While the majority of business leaders are struggling in the current lockdown, some believe there is “light at the end of the tunnel”. Some 27% are optimistic for the vaccine, 21% are accepting, 10% are positive and a further 7% feel motivated.
Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance said: “We often first think about the financial impact lockdown is having on the SME nation, but we must also consider the emotional impact on business owners across the country.
“Businesses now more than ever need access to support, whether that be financial, mental health or practical, to help them through the tough times ahead.”
He added: “While the picture is looking brighter with the mass rollout of the vaccine, it is never too late for business owners to engage with support groups.
“Not only do they provide business owners with access to a wealth of resources, but connect them with peers in their local area, allowing them to discuss the similar issues they are facing in today’s challenging environment.”