None of us expected 2021 to look like this.
The whole world has changed drastically over the past year, leaving business owners uncertain about their future. We are beginning to see waves of recovery but the realities of trying to stay afloat as an SME in a vulnerable and changeable economic climate are hard-hitting.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and there are opportunities for growth on the horizon. To better understand how the economy will recover and what the light at the end of the tunnel might bring, we need to address the challenges that SMEs are currently facing.
Where are we now?
In February this year, Facebook’s Data for Good initiative spoke to 35,000 SMEs in 27 countries about the effects of the pandemic on their businesses. The wider results show that many SMEs don’t yet feel like they are in recovery. In fact, only 54% were confident in their ability to continue operating over the next six months if current circumstances persist.
The decline in business has been felt all over the world with the report showing that more than half (55%) of still-operating SMEs reported a drop in sales in January 2021 compared to the previous year. This situation means that 51% of all those surveyed do not plan to rehire laid-off or furloughed staff in the next six months.
This uncertainty affects a business’ ability to grow and that has a knock-on effect across the whole supply chain.
What does this mean?
Global traders are delicately managing not only their own economic recovery but also those of suppliers, trading partners, and customers — all of whom are also navigating the complexities of their own local, regional, and national recovery. Workers are not being rehired, suppliers are unable to produce at the levels needed for significant export revenues, and service industries must wait, still, for consumer confidence to return in great numbers.
According to Fox News, this equates to the equivalent of 400 million jobs lost worldwide — 13 million in the US alone.
We are a global economy and your recovery influences that of your worldwide partners (both direct and indirect). Your own frustrations and roadblocks will also have a ripple effect across the entire supply chain. As a global platform for cash flow acceleration, Crowdz has seen this happen and we knew there was something we could do to support a global recovery.
Who can help?
Unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus packages have ensured stability but it’s time to look at long-term recovery. It’s fair to say that government interventions can’t continue at the same rate as 2020 so there need to be other options available to small businesses who want to keep their doors open. With the federal Payment Protection Program in the US now closed to applications and the total economic bailout totaling $19.5 trillion in November, help is scarce.
Enterprising business owners are surviving but that’s not enough. Businesses want to grow, they want to hire, and they want to hit all those goals they had back in 2019 before there was even a whisper of a pandemic.
So the question remains, who can help?
You and I can help
In 2014, Steven Lee and Payson Johnston, developed a concept that would grow into the financial platform we run today, Crowdz. Working with devastated supply chains in Asia after a shocking series of natural disasters, we saw the ripple effect of changes in the global economy throughout the supply chain. They noticed that SMEs are particularly vulnerable and any breakdown in the local chain meant net-90 invoicing immediately became unviable further down the line too. That is where they saw the challenge and the opportunity to step up.
There is a dire need for businesses of all shapes and sizes to have access to alternative financing options during these unprecedented times. They need funding that has metrics and risk data attached to help make an informed decision as to which financing option might be right for them. Crowdz enables these businesses to turn invoicing into a marketplace commodity.
If we can improve global cash flow, particularly for SMEs, thousands of micro-economies worldwide could feel the uptick. This is an opportunity for all of us to collectively invest in others and benefit from global economic recovery.
We knew there was a need for an accelerator program that would begin this ripple effect, which is why we created the Reclaim the Future project.