How Does COVID-19 Affect UK Small Business?

People are asking “how does COVID-19 affect UK small business?” and I wanted to let you all know how it’s affected me. I’m Nikki Kamminga, a work at home parent with two small children and pregnant with our third. Right now, my husband is working from home too, helping me and fixing up laptops whilst he looks for a new web developer role.

Nikki, Hákun and the kids by Emma Elliott Photography
Nikki, Hákun and the kids by Emma Elliott Photography

Listening to the news this morning, we’re told they might be closing the schools next week so we’re going to be home educating the children. Ayla is 6 and Hannah is 5 next Wednesday and we’re excited about having them home with us so much this spring and summer and I feel grateful that we’re able to make it work. I’m hoping they finish school soon because there’s not enough evidence to show how children carry the virus and I’m worried about catching it whilst I’m pregnant.

How Does COVID-19 Affect UK Small Business?

Financially, I’ve already been affected. Over the last six months, I’ve had zero refund requests; this week I’ve had three. People have asked to cancel existing orders. I’ve resolved things with the customers but I wonder how many other small businesses here in the UK are getting cancellations and returns of non-essential items? Order numbers are right down and after I’ve finished my Mother’s Day orders to post by Monday, I won’t have an awful lot to work on.

My other business, Keepsaker Supplies where I sell moulds and supplies for other keepsake and resin jewellers, will be my focus in a few weeks’ time. I’ll have the time to build up some stock and maybe make some videos. That’s not going to pay the electricity bill now though.

School Closures during COVID-19

Although we have a few orders processing and waiting for engraving and hallmarking, there’s no more than a few days’ work to keep me occupied. That might be a blessing in disguise, if the kids are home, but we’re going to be using our savings to pay the bills this month. There’s a knock-on effect too; I’ve got to cancel my hair appointments, which means two other self-employed mums will be losing out on that income. Then again, will my hairdresser even be able to work anyway? Our kids are at the same school and she might not have childcare. I won’t be getting my nails done this month – the couple that do them have a little girl and I bet they’ve seen a drop in business. My husband won’t be supporting the local pub by inserting copious amounts of money into the pool table this weekend and I’m sure they’re wondering “how does COVID-19 affect UK small business?”

primary school in the UK
primary school in the UK

It doesn’t matter if you have children or not, if your customers are having to stay off work to look after theirs, then they might not be able to support your small business. I’m sure a lot of grandparents will be offering to step in to help out, but I’m hoping my mum will self-isolate (I might need to take her some food; she was isolated in the flooding in Monmouth two weeks ago and I don’t know if she’s refilled her cupboards!)

How Will UK Small Business Pay Its Workers?

I have two fantastic self-employed mums who help me manage my business and I will need them just as much through this as I did before, but the person who does our social media might have to stay at home with her daughter so I don’t know if she’ll have time to do it for me. I’m not going to ask her for a refund for this month’s bill but our social media pages might have to go a bit quiet.

Our admin manager doesn’t have school age kids but I’m worried I won’t have enough work for her this month so there’s a knock-on effect too for anyone who invoices companies for work-at-home jobs. There’s so much in the air for all self-employed people and small businesses at the moment and all we can do is to self-isolate, wash our hands and do our best to support each other.

Let me know below if you’re self-employed or work for a small business – how is the virus affecting you? How does COVID-19 affect UK small business where you are?

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