Survey Finds Majority of Business Owners Feel Prepared for Another COVID-19 Wave
With autumn approaching, fears that the current coronavirus pandemic will worsen continue to grow. However, armed with more experience and some enhanced technologies, small business owners are feeling better about handling things this time around.
According to a survey from Comcast Business, 78% of small business owners say their businesses are prepared to handle an increase in COVID-19 cases. Leading this confidence were changes businesses made to the way they serve their customers. This response was followed closely by rethinking the way they do business in general as well as how they communicate and collaborate. Speaking of collaboration, while 22% of those surveyed said they turned to their peers for help with navigating these unique times, 43% stated that they’ve done so on their own.
Meanwhile, one solution that’s helped businesses adapt to the “new normal” are various technologies — with 78% describing themselves as more tech-savvy now compared to pre-COVID. This comes as 31% of those surveyed said they’d adopted new technologies they likely never would have otherwise. Similarly, 23% said that recent technological updates they’ve made would have been put off for one to three years if it weren’t for the pandemic.
To be clear, despite businesses stating that they’re largely prepared for the business impacts that could come with an increase in infection, the vast majority of respondents are still hurting, with 86% reporting a drop in revenue. On a more personal level, 65% of respondents said that the pandemic’s effects on their business had left them stressed, with 68% even losing sleep at night. Currently, only one-in-five small businesses believe they’ve returned to normal operations, with 53% predicting it will take six months to a year to reach that milestone. However, another 23% don’t expect normalcy to come for more than a year.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Comcast Business CMO Eileen Diskin remarked, “Over the past six months, small and mid-size businesses have shown tremendous resolve and agility. This survey offers encouraging insights into the current mindset of SMB owners as they adapt their businesses for the future and prepare for the potential of a second spike in COVID-19 activity,” adding, “The resiliency of SMB owners cannot be overstated.” IDC Small and Medium Business Research Director Shari Lavin echoed some of those sentiments while highlighting the technology aspect, stating, “In a COVID-19 world, resilient small and medium businesses are embracing technology like never before, rapidly implementing key solutions to digitize the customer journey in an effort to improve sales in a difficult customer acquisition environment. While the solutions they need vary by business, reliable connectivity and the ability to collaborate underpin any key digital initiative.”
Even if sales have returned to their previous levels for some small businesses, there’s still nothing normal about the on-going situation we’re all faced with. That said, the good news is that Americans now have a better idea of what we’re up against, hopefully allowing us to better ride out another wave of infections. This notion extends to businesses that have managed to invest in technologies and other tools to help them continue to operate under these conditions. With any luck, not only will these moves enable them to stay afloat but also allow them to thrive once we make it out the other side.