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The Real Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19): What a Drop in Demand Means for Small Business

By | 03.27.20

The Real Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19): What a Drop in Demand Means for Small Business

Thryv and America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) recently conducted a joint study to understand exactly how deeply the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting small businesses.

While it’s easy to see the devastation businesses of all sizes are facing, the study helps quantify the effects the global pandemic will have on small business America.

Small Business COVID-19 Study Results

The short- and long-term business implications of COVID-19:

  • 82% of small businesses are “extremely concerned” about the current business environment in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • 69% of U.S. small businesses have already experienced a large drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 60% believe demand will continue to decline.
  • 60% of small business respondents have delayed or cancelled plans for new investments, loans and expansions in light of the pandemic.

It’s not just business owners weathering the storm.

Small businesses employ nearly 50% of the United States’ workforce. That’s a staggering 58.9 million people. Unfortunately, many of those employees are feeling the pressure of reduced hours, furloughs and layoffs.

Small business employment effects of COVID-19 so far:

  • 64% of the small businesses studied indicated employee hours have been cut.
  • 22% percent said they had not been cut yet but they expect to do so.

The supply chain is taking an obvious hit as well, as manufacturers and distributors focus on only the most critical and essential items.

  • 74% percent of small businesses indicated that they or their suppliers have seen disruptions in their supply chain.

[Podcast] How Small Businesses Are Adapting

Despite these troubling insights, the study also indicated small business owners are finding new ways to operate their businesses.

Many of Thryv’s own clients are using software and other technology to adapt their work practices. We spoke with small business owners and Thryv users in the latest episode of “Winning on Main Street” to hear how they’re adapting to this new economic environment. Then, podcast host Gordon Henry and Thryv research guru Alan Traverse discuss the joint study’s results in further detail.

Our clients aren’t the only business adapting. Many others, including those from the joint study, are taking additional measures to work more safely and virtually.

Additional ways small businesses are working differently due to COVID-19:

  • Training employees on new health and safety standards
  • Offering services via video conference instead of in person
  • Implementing digital estimates and invoices
  • Scheduling in-person interactions using online booking, to limit the number of people in a shared space
  • Conducting consultations via video conferencing and over the phone
  • Building an online marketplace where customers can place orders
  • Communicating with clients via text and email more than ever before

Getting Help

During trying times, it’s critical to understand the resources available to your business. In fact, 36% of businesses are either likely to or have already applied for special Small Business Administration loans.

For more resources on how your small business can get help during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Subscribe to our blog to stay updated as more study results come in soon.

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