Newspage / Not on Amazon survey - Feb 22

ended 08. February 2022

Newspage is running a joint survey between now and Sunday night with our good friends over at Not On Amazon. If you haven't checked Not On Amazon out yet, please do. It's a community of over 182k independent makers selling fantastic products. And the banter is top drawer. We are doing a joint press release with NOA on Monday about the rising cost of living and how small independent businesses are feeling on the ground. We'd love it if you could complete the quick three question survey >> here << and then try and summarise how confident (or not) you are feeling right now as a small business owner — and why — in this News Alert. We will be targeting local and national media with your responses throughout next week.

17 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"We are currently doing really well. Lockdown brought a whole host of new customers to us and it has thankfully continued. We are eternally grateful for this but I think that is because we have quite a niche. However, we have family members and friends who are already choosing between eating and heating, and many are going with hardly any food at all so that their children can eat. It is a truly scary time and it is really difficult to stay positive and upbeat. There's this real guilt hanging over us that our business is doing really well but not well enough that we can help our family and friends out of the dire position many find themselves in."
Star Quote
"The level of deceit, nepotism and good old-fashioned greed are off the scale in this country right now. On a daily basis, the lawmakers and rulebreakers in government treat us with contempt. Most of what they do seems to be yet another attempt to line their friends' pockets. We have been served up fake PPE scams, a Test, Track and Trace money laundering exercise and now continued support for energy companies at the expense of consumers. The bill for the current energy price omnishambles has landed squarely at the doors of those least able to pay. It's time for a new Government as the current one is rotten right through."
Star Quote
Love Absolute Skincare
"As the owner of a micro skincare brand, I’m feeling absolutely exhausted. The two-year battle since Covid began has been long and brutal and our sales have been affected throughout. Sometimes no money at all has come in. Just when I thought we were out of the woods, I’ve literally been blindsided by a £1,700 pound energy bill. I've had to fork out £1,000 on electricity alone in just one month, between December and January. It turns out I’m being charged for backdated usage at today's ridiculously high rates. I can’t really say what I’ll do, as I’m basically speechless. The battle to survive for micro businesses like mine is real and soaring energy prices are crippling us just as we thought things might improve."
Star Quote
"We have stopped putting our heating on when we are cold. I now only use the heating to dry clothes. I wear my dressing gown all the time unless I am working. "As a dog groomer working from home, I use a lot of hot water and a lot of electricity for blowdrying. I am extremely worried about the cost of energy prices rising. My electricity bill has already risen by £50 a month, but I fear that more rises will come. "I am very lucky to have lived in our rental property for several years, with minimal rent increases. The rental market has become ridiculous and unaffordable for many. Sky-high rents and rising utility bills are crippling households around the UK."
Star Quote
"For the first time in many years I’m scared. The rising cost of living, and rocketing food and gas prices mean my usual sales just aren’t enough. I don’t have enough money to heat my home and run my business simultaneously. So what choice do I make? How do I invest in my future if I can barely fund my present?"
Star Quote
"The past two years have been absolutely devastating for small businesses. While our sales have plummeted, the cost of living has skyrocketed. Everyone I know has struggled to keep their company afloat. The cost of doing business is skyrocketing, too. Prices to ship internationally have increased by unbelievable levels, not just in terms of importing my own ingredients but also shipping products out to clients. The price of everything to do with business has increased in the past two years to levels that are making running a business incredibly stressful. I have good clients that can't afford their regular orders, or if they can, the increase in postal prices has made it prohibitively expensive. We are really struggling and yet I don't see any politicians losing sleep over any of this insanity. Not only has my own company struggled to keeps sales coming in, several businesses that we use to make custom-made skincare products for have gone bankrupt. I have watched the price of food in the grocery shops increase by 15-20% in the past two years. I've also watched the price of renting a home in our area go up by £250 a month in the past two years. Our family just moved into a rental house two weeks ago, which we are paying £200 a month more for than our budget can handle, because we had no other choice."
Star Quote
"I manage the marketing for small businesses. Without them I have nothing, except three children to provide for. Rising costs on every front, coupled with complete uncertainty in virtually every sector are now crippling small businesses and jeopardising not just my work but my family's well-being."
We are in worrying times; when the Bank of England is saying this is the biggest squeeze in living standards since records began you know it's not good. However, I do think it's vitally important to remain stoic about these circumstances. I can control how I act and how I feel, everything else is beyond my control and therefore there's no benefit worrying about them. One day at a time and we'll come out the other end.
I am in absolute panic with the situation small businesses and sole traders face currently. Since yesterday's announcement of the rise of the energy price cap from April and again in November, consumers will be extremely cautious on purchasing anything other than essential food and paying bills. Yesterday afternoon proved how worried people are with numerous adverts being placed on Facebook, preloved and pets for homes of people reluctantly offering their family pets and pet equipment for sale because they have had to make the extremely difficult choice between feeding the pet and feeding the family.. I am deeply worried that if people cannot rehome their pets and rescue centres get to full, people will just release them into the wild. With dart frogs & reptiles etc to keep them as pets means lots of constant electricity and heating. I really am worried about my small business and feel a very bleak future for all small businesses.
It's a funny old time to be a human at the moment and as a result it's a very busy time for us mental health professionals. It feels like a real privilege to be supporting the nation's mental health at this time but it would also be pretty nice to have a magic salve for the nation to help take some of the ouch away.
As a small holiday lettings agency, we rely 100% on disposable income in order for guests to afford a holiday in Salcombe. Less cash equals fewer holidays. Time to say bon voyage to our forecasting and salut to financial uncertainty.
"Like many others who work from home, I am also struggling to keep up with the astronomical hikes in energy prices. In the 21st century, we should not have to revisit the blackouts of the 70s, facing bleak times in our homes, with many people wearing several items of clothing just to keep warm. I'm regularly having to ignore the dial on the thermostat and instead pull up my hood, which I sport regularly, simply to keep warm. Currently I pay £60 weekly for my gas and not much less for electricity. It is a real concern, as I run my business from home (mostly in my onesie and hood) and am a single parent, with only my income. Times are hard but this only makes me more driven and determined to succeed in business."
"As a small business owner who works from home, rising energy prices and the cost of living are a huge concern for us. We try to make our items as affordable as we can but we are afraid that soon we will have to raise our prices and our customers will stop purchasing. At this stage we are already considering to rehome our fish to cut on electricity costs."
The businesses we speak to are concerned as customers have less to spend, and they do not want to pass on any additional costs. The news is governed by Partygate when it is anything but party time for small businesses on our High Streets.
I'm not panicking yet. While costs have been rising, so have sales. There has been such a sway towards shopping small recently that business has been good. Whether this level of support continues remains to be seen. What I do know is that small business owners are tough, creative, and able to adapt quickly to overcome never-ending hurdles thrown at them, the pandemic proved that.
I’m a small business owner, and have been trading in restored and reupholstered furniture for the past 14 years. There has been a downturn over the last two years with sales I feel this is due to the the uncertainty of living costs. I take less than minimum wage to keep the company going and luckily don’t employ anybody. The rich seem to be getting richer and the poor very much poorer. These issues with low income earners have been happening for years we don’t value the people at the bottom of the ‘food chain.’ My husband and myself have both worked throughout the pandemic, my husband in food distribution. We have had no help, no extra pay for him, no Thank you. Basic pay £97 for the week he was forced off work from covid. He caught it at work because others couldn’t afford to stay off and came in, so it ripped through his workplace. The whole of our lives we have paid our taxes ( which were squandered by the government the past 2 years) we have never been eligible for any pay out at any point, we are a couple who fall between the cracks. If E. F. Schumacher wrote about issues with mass consumption and The failings in our economic systems in ‘Small is beautiful a study of economics as if people mattered’ in the 1970s and nothing has changed it won’t now. The cancer of greed has taken hold too far now for us to extricate ourselves from it. It starts from taking for granted the bottom tier of everything in our lives, be that our coal resources, our farmers, and our fellow human beings who have the jobs no one else wants but are necessary . The resolution isn’t electric cars or green levees or heat exchanges they plaster the cracks they created in the first place. The issue is the governments obsession with GDP growth and standing within the world political forum, and greed of our narcissistic politicians for machiavellian power and profit. Always profit. Not breaking even but making more and more each year. The country is run like a place where it’s people are treated like bottom of the rung slaves who make profit for few. It’s a large company with no Union just a team of HR (MPs) out for their own promotions. On a personal note, my husband and I were going to do ivf this year after a long struggle, as it’s our last chance, we aren’t eligible through NHS, but we can’t afford it. And with the country as it is, I’m uncertain if we could afford to raise a child. We won’t be the only people thinking this. And without a future population they can’t continue to forecast growth in GDP. Their bubble of year on year profit pops. We also rent because rents are so high we can’t save for a house so are stuck in a vicious cycle. The question is can there be unlimited economic growth on a finite Planet when Government is not in touch with its people that they have encouraged to mass consume? Our consumption has outstripped our technological advances to replace resources, but we have been encouraged to spend our way out of trouble.. ‘the GB company’ out of trouble, not Individuals who can’t afford to heat their house kind of trouble. Why can’t the large companies that owe tax in this country just pay it. Or pay their staff rather than stock holders more. Where have we left to turn when our government spend money like it’s limitless pocket money because we let them treat our (their labour force) money that way. It’s not just this government it’s all governments. It’s rotten from the top, the whole system, and lavish party’s show you how much they think of us, the GB workforce the ones that make the money to pay their wages. I hope they raised a glass (we paid for) to us poor shmucks at the bottom .
"Such a sharp rise in the cost of living comes at a price that is almost always overlooked: a loss of innocence in our children, who also suffer from the financial fallout of sky high inflation, as much as their parents may try to shield them from it. The higher cost of living naturally impacts adults and small businesses, but its toxicity can have a much more significant impact on young people and future generations. "It also seems that whenever costs rise, the arts lose out. This has been true in academia for decades and the reality is, small businesses such as mine are being affected too. The purpose of my books are to 'educate, engage and enchant': these are charming, traditional stories that aren't wedged purposefully into the confines of the national curriculum as so many are. Instead, they are written to foster imagination and creativity, just as Dahl and Blyton and Nesbitt and all those other authors had the luxury of doing many years ago. And these are the books parents are increasingly overlooking for their children: they think that it's important to get books that tell their 5 year olds how to cope with stress, how to practice mindfulness, and to know that there are others their own age being ferried to our shores in tiny dinghies."