“Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot”. These are the infamous words that encapsulate the legend of Guy Fawkes and his plot to bring down the government, which makes you wonder if Boris could have picked a better day to cut the UK economy off at it’s knees. The legend of Guy Fawkes made way for the brilliant dystopian “V for Vendetta” graphic novel and film – the mask used in that film has since been adopted by and itself made iconic and infamous by the hack group Anonymous who play a key role in society of keeping politicians and those in power honest, and fearful for what they might dig up.
With the news that Boris Johnson will put the UK into ‘Lockdown 2’ from Thursday 5th November for about a month – for the 5.9 million entrepreneurs or business owners who run an SME – the treason and plot comes from the government this time.
I appreciate that it’s an incredibly nuanced situation with lots to consider and I’m no where near as informed as many on how and why they made this sacrifice – instead I want to highlight a very important message that needs to be shared.
How Many People Will Be Affected
According to statista, in 2020 there were approximately 5.86 million small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the United Kingdom. Micro-sized enterprises that employ up to nine people make up the majority of SMEs in the UK at roughly 4.1 thousand. Enterprises that have between 10 and 49 employees are classed as small enterprises, and numbered around 211 thousand in the UK.
99% of all businesses in the UK are considered ‘small’ or ‘micro’ – accounting therefore for the majority of employment in the UK (60% of all employees, contributing 40% of our GDP).
To make matters worse, that’s 5.9 Million people who also have to figure out how to navigate Brexit in 8 days after lockdown, with new furlough schemes, less support and for most of us -less revenue and therefore budget to actually do any of this. To reiterate, this isn’t 5.9 million businesses – it is 5.9 Million individual human beings who will carry this burden, let alone all the people they employ and their job security.
It is a practical disaster and it is going to wreak havoc on our mental health. As I’ve previously written for Forbes, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non entrepreneurs. That’s according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. 49% of entrepreneurs deal with mental health issues directly while only 32% of others experienced them.
What we can all do about it
On top of what was already huge mounting pressure to keep businesses open and employ people to contribute to the economy, we are entering into a lockdown, and for some of us that will spell the end – for others I want to make a message extremely clear that we ALL can help.
- Go out and buy what you can now from your local neighbourhood shops before Thursday and they are closed.
- Think about what you can buy online from startups and SMEs instead of just going straight for huge brands.
- A lot of us have friends who run small businesses – NOW is the time to purchase products from them.
Entrepreneurs already suffer from acute Mental Health problems but this new period will be a real test, and it’s up to all of us to come together and keep one another in business, and there is only ONE way you can do that.
Buy their products.
If this article resonated with you, please share it on social and tag in a startup or founder who you want to keep alive over the next month – it will mean a lot to them.
For more information on mental health and how to look after your brain’s health you can visit my startup Heights – we have over 100 articles which all reference their scientific sources about how to take care of your brain.
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