Take this quiz to find out how well you support microbusinesses

Have a dog walker? Buy your coffee from a pop-up? Take this quiz to find out how much of a microbusiness supporter you are. The series of 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 – with six in 10 admitting that the weeks leading up to Yuletide are the most important period of the year.

As such, 58 percent, of the 500 business owners polled, say they fear what could happen during the year ahead, if sales are low in December.

To further underline the importance of the coming days, 32 percent said Christmas revenue tides them over during quieter months – while 21 percent of small companies believe it can define their growth for the entire year to come.

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

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 percent 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 percent have felt increased stress levels, while 24 percent have had to make cuts. However, despite the challenging economic conditions, six in 10 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.

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

However, the study, carried out through OnePoll, found that while contactless is popular among customers, as many as one in four 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 amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“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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