The vast majority of small business owners have made personal financial sacrifices to keep their business afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey has shown.

The research, conducted by Superscript, found that nearly half (48%) reduced their own salary, while more than a quarter (27%) stopped taking a salary completely. Twenty-one per cent took out a personal loan and 9% even remortgaged their home to help their business.

However, the extent of the sacrifices stretch beyond finances, the study found. Fifteen per cent of small business owners said they had lost friendships, 8% broke off a relationship and 41% took no time off during the pandemic in order to help the business.

Given the still unknown longevity and impact of the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that seven in 10 (70%) small business owners say that their business plans for 2021 have been impacted.

There is likely to be less hiring (39%), new products (33%), fundraising (27%) and international expansion (17%) from the SME community next year. Hinting towards significant and long term stifling of growth and innovation among many of the almost six million small businesses in the UK.

18 months of recovery

Demonstrating the sheer resilience and adaptability of SMEs, despite the challenging trading conditions two-thirds (66%) still expect to make a profit this year - with almost one in five (19%) predicting higher profits than they expected.

However, the 14% of small business owners that don’t expect to make a profit this year believe it will take, on average, 18 months for their business to return to profitability.

Cameron Shearer, co-founder and chief executive officer of Superscript, said: “Small businesses have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. Owners of these businesses have been locked out of a lot of government support, but it’s humbling to hear the lengths they’ve gone to to keep their businesses - and livelihoods - alive.”

“With almost six million small businesses in the UK, they really are the lifeblood of our economy and we collectively can’t afford to see so many shut up shop. We must do what we can to support them through the pandemic and help them to thrive.”