12/7/21 by Jackson Lagerway
The COVID pandemic spared virtually no lives. We have lost jobs, experienced confinement within our own homes, watched as sickness affected those around us, and much more. Since COVID-19 swept the world, life has been completely different.
Businesses were one of the groups that were struck the hardest, and of this group, small businesses have been the ones suffering the most. This is because most of them lack the size and capital to adequately cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic.
With 99.9% of all the businesses in the United States qualifying as small businesses, they are an immensely important part of this nation, especially considering that they employ just under half of the national workforce and contribute significantly to the US economy.
For these businesses, the pandemic made it extremely difficult to avoid losing customers and revenue. Some of the primary reasons included consumers staying home during lockdowns, reduced capacity in stores because of new measures such as social distancing, temporary closure of businesses due to regulations, and just a general decrease in the desire to spend due to the uncertainty for future income situations.
During the peak of the pandemic, survey results released by Business Wire in October 2020 revealed that 51% of businesses had a significant decrease in their sales that year. Additionally, of the smaller businesses comprised of 1 to 4 people, 48% have experienced severe problems from the pandemic while 37% of businesses with 20 to 49 people have reported the same.
These businesses are still not entirely recovered from this damage as it will take some time until they are fully back on their feet again. A recent survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank found that 3 out of every 10 small businesses in the U.S. said they likely won’t survive 2021 without additional government assistance, CBS News reported. That amounts to nearly 9 million businesses at risk of closing.
How They Coped
Many businesses had to rely on technology to find success during these treacherous times. The transition to a more digital society was imminent, but the pandemic served as a catalyst for this shift as people depended more heavily on online resources during this period.
I am sure almost all of us have worked over a Zoom call and experienced the convenience of working online from home. Platforms such as Zoom allowed for a smooth transition to the digital space so incorporating these into businesses was practically necessary as these applications and services made this conversion to the online world much easier.
The numbers were huge, as 76% of small business owners in the US reported relying on online tools more during the COVID pandemic, and close to ⅓ of these businesses also stated that without these platforms, they would have had to close their business completely or partially.
One thing we have learned is that using these services online is actually very convenient. It can allow for tasks to be conducted more efficiently and effectively and consumers are preferring to shop online rather than going to a physical store. This transition appears to be here to stay and forcing businesses to convert to this medium may have actually benefited them in the long run.
It was very common to see businesses use digital tools more to gain new customers with 40% of small businesses across the US reporting that they had used an online platform for this purpose during the pandemic. One area that has seen some notable growth is SaaS services and other similar businesses. They have grown in popularity as people have begun to rely on them to increase their customers and receive the support needed to succeed in the online world.
Collaborate and Elevate was one solution that was birthed during these times and they have really been able to take advantage of their resources. This networking platform supports businesses by helping them make connections and find new customers online. Additionally, they also offer other services aimed at helping the business grow.
Collaborate and Elevate currently provides four subscription plans that start at $4.95 a month or $47.95 a year and go up to $180.00 a month or $1945.00 a year. They also have a partner model for advanced businesses that are interested in a deeper engagement.
Although businesses were hurt badly during this time, there have been many support structures available for use. It was very important to develop an online presence for the future and now businesses have these things set up years in advance. These steps will pay dividends as time passes by.