Many business owners are counting on Christmas to see a financial difference

A quiz has been created to show you how supportive you are when it comes to microbusinesses.

The series questions will probe to see how frequently you pay for services from employers of under 10 people – and see if you could be doing more to help them thrive.

It follows research which found a third of small business owners are 'stressed' about their Christmas trading prospects. Six in 10 of the 500 owners polled admitted the weeks leading up to Yuletide are the most important period of the year.

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As such, 58 per cent fear what could happen during the subsequent 12 months if sales are low in December. To further underline the importance of the coming days, 32 per cent said Christmas revenue tides them over during quieter months, while 21 per cent of small companies believe it can define their growth for the year ahead.

Commissioned by payment platform, Lopay, the study found 29 per cent of small business leaders regard Christmas as their biggest opportunity to make money, with 22 per cent also believing it’s the time they get the most footfall.

The bedrock of the economy

Richard Carter, founder of the payment platform, said: “Times are not only tight for consumers, but also for small businesses. The research has undoubtedly shown that this period in the lead up to Christmas Day has an enormous impact on many microbusinesses. So, every penny counts, not only from a trade perspective, but also what they can save on the bottom line.”

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has meant 34 per cent of owners have noticed their customer numbers have dropped recently, which has ultimately led to less income in the run up to the festive period.  As a result, 32 per cent have felt increased stress levels, while 24 per cent have had to make cuts.

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However, despite the challenging economic conditions, 60 per cent are optimistic the revenue generated at this time of the year will be greater than other periods, and many are putting measures in place to help boost sales - including seasonal discounts, extended operating hours, and buying more stock.

Many are also considering how they can make it easier for customers to pay - with 62 per cent using contactless card readers. More than six in 10 (61 per cent) consider this the simplest way to take payments, while 46 per cent customers expect it.

Carried out through OnePoll, the study found while contactless is popular among customers, 25 per cent of owners have had to wait for their payment provider to transfer the money to them.

Richard Carter, founder of Lopay which offers flexible payment terms so owners can quickly access earnings and payment processing at a competitive rate, added: “A lot of pressure is on the shoulders of microbusinesses looking to make the most of a crucial time of year. What’s clear is there’s a lot of money to be made for them in this period and they are reliant on consumers, who they know are feeling the pinch themselves mid cost-of-living crisis.

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"However, one thing businesses can do is switch to a payment provider that charges less and offers better access to funds. The small business community is the bedrock of our economy, and we want to do as much as we can to help it thrive – both at Christmas and beyond.”

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