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Yes – it’s been a very hard year. Yes – we have all been touched by the tragedies and difficulties presented by COVID19. Yes – there are still some hard months to come but resilience, tenacity and innovation have been the watchwords for small business owners in Aotearoa and, as the COVID19 pandemic continues to rage around the world, they’re getting ready to take on 2021.

Since July, we have been checking the pulse of small businesses, following the progress of their owners and enterprises.  Inevitably there have been worries and difficulties as we collectively figure out how to operate in a pandemic but, overall, businesses outside the hardest hit sectors of tourism, travel and hospitality have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for strength in the face of adversity as they have worked tirelessly to stabilise the heart of the economy.

Amid lockdowns and restrictions, they’ve tackled employment issues, cash flow crises, supply chain and other problems – all at the same time they’ve had to reinvent the way they do business.

During this challenging period, the Pulse Check revealed a rapid rate of growth and opportunity for some, while for others, the life-blood of their business has been drained. Two constants have kept them going – government support and specialist business advice – and the indicators suggest that more government support is needed to help small business owners develop the skills and resources they need to progress. In the report you can access below you’ll be able to see how resilience and optimism has fared during COVID-19 with insights into sectors that have quietly got on with the job, providing for their staff and communities during this exceptional period. There are insights into progress, what’s needed in the years ahead and, as 2021 peers over the horizon, looks at where they are now and where they hope to head next.

Throughout the country we have found that the uncertainties and stresses of 2020 have resulted in an increasing need for the services that we provide, especially so when supported with financial assistance channeled through the Regional Business Partner network.

The Alternative Board’s Steve Wilkinson, based in Christchurch commented: “The resilience shown by our client base in Canterbury has been remarkable and reflects previous experiences.  With careful guidance and a commitment to playing what is in front of them I am delighted to see all of my clients have not only got through the COVID 19 pandemic intact, some are reaping the rewards of being well positioned to take on what is in front of them”.

The Tracker report follows the results of the Pulse Check monthly monitor for small to medium size businesses. Pulse Check was launched so we could listen to our members and associates, discover how they are managing during COVID-19, how they are, what support they need, their views on current challenges, their confidence and the opportunities ahead. You can download a copy of the tracker report here.

We will continue to check the pulse in 2021 with the next edition scheduled for early February.

Each Pulse Check has had a confidence level of 90% and a 5% margin of error.

Stephen James is the owner of The Alternative Board NZ.   You can contact Stephen on 021 606 934, [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn

Business Planning Small Business Pulse Remains Strong As Global Pandemic Progresses