Direct Line research - £8,775 is the cost of two weeks of disruption to a small business

£8,775 is the average cost to keep a business operating if trading is halted for two weeks

- One in ten small businesses have suffered disruption that severely impacted their enterprise in the last two years

- One in five small businesses would last less than a month in the event of being forced to halt trading

More than 550,000 small businesses in the UK have been forced to halt trading due to a disruption in the last two years, according to new research by small business insurer Direct Line for Business.

Destroyed stock and delivery vehicles breaking down are just a couple of incidents that have been known to cause a halt in business trading. The average cost of keeping a small business afloat while unable to trade for two weeks is estimated to be £8,775.  

The average small business believes that it would last around eight months and three weeks if it were forced to halt trading, with sole traders (nine months, one week) faring better than microbusinesses – businesses employing fewer than 10 people - (nine months) and small businesses (six months, two weeks).

Of those companies that have had to cease trading due to business disruption, the period of shutdown lasted, on average, more than three months. This will be of particular concern for the one in five (21 per cent) small businesses that claim that they would not be able to survive if their businesses had to cease trading for more than a month.

Reduction in profit (48 per cent), reduction in revenue (42 per cent), loss of customers (39 per cent) and putting personal money into the business (32 per cent) were found to be the most common impacts of an interruption in trading on small business owners.

Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business, said: “There are many reasons a business might need to halt trading and unfortunately a lot of them are unforeseen.

“Keeping a business afloat when there is a disruption can be stressful enough, especially when there are no funds being generated.

“Business owners must ensure they have adequate insurance to minimise any disruption should an incident occur. Business interruption insurance covers your business if your insured property has been damaged resulting in a loss of income.”