The majority of small businesses in the U.S. are optimistic about reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new study says.
Nearly three-quarters of businesses (74 percent) expect to return to business as usual within six months of coronavirus restrictions being lifted, the Connected Commerce Council (3C) said Wednesday.
“This report shows that in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic and economic crisis, digitally empowered small businesses are weathering the storm and optimistic about the future,” said Jake Ward, president of 3C, a non-profit membership organization.
“Small businesses drive the American economy, and they will drive the American recovery.”
The study was based on a survey by LRWGreenberg, a research & strategy consultancy in California. The company surveyed 502 small business owners in the U.S. from May 6-18. The businesses were based in various sectors including: education and food services, retail trade, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and more.
The coronavirus and subsequent stay-at-home orders have placed a tremendous strain on small businesses, in what’s been described as one of the worst business climates in history. The swift and cruel nature of the virus and response to it blindsided many businesses and put the future of many more in jeopardy. It’s also left nearly 40 million Americans without a job since March.
The survey found small businesses that adapted to using digital technology have been able to survive in the face of the outbreak, which has led them to be optimistic about reopening the economy.
Examples of using digital tools include selling their products online on places like Amazon, using online marketing channels such as Instagram and YouTube, or continuing to build relationships by using Salesforce and Constant Contact.
Charlie Meyer, owner of the Spice House in Evanston, Ill., said his company implemented communications tools such as Slack and Zoom, which helped his business survive and stay connected during the pandemic, according to the study.
Nearly one-third of owners said they would have been forced to close all or parts of their business during the crisis without using online tools. and roughly 50 percent of businesses said they would have been negatively impacted if they didn’t use them.
While digital technology has been beneficial as helping many small businesses, others that require in-person sales to survive — like restaurants — face a much more challenging road ahead until shutdowns are finally ended.
An overhaul of small business aid will be the next thing Congress focuses on in hopes of helping employers reopen shops and survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox Business’s Ken Martin contributed to this report.