Small Business Reality: Obstacles, Uncertainties and Concerns

By at 3 June, 2020, 7:31 am

26 percent of small business owners are still unsure if they will ever get back in business, according to a LendingTree survey 

by Raymond J. Keating-

If you’re a small business owner and feeling anxiety during these times of pandemic, stress and uncertainty, you are not alone. According to a LendingTree survey of small business owners, 46 percent expect fewer customers and sales upon reopening. In fact, only 17 percent expect to see customer sales returning to pre-pandemic levels.

As reported by the Greenville Business Magazine, with states and cities moving ahead with reopening, 46 percent of owners in the survey cited funding as the primary obstacle to reopening their businesses, though nearly 60 percent say they will reopen as soon as allowed, with 15 percent saying they’ll wait longer and 26 percent not sure if they will ever get back in business.

As for concerns about reopening, 39 percent are worried about not generating enough sales to warrant reopening; 30 percent are concerned about having to close down again due to a coronavirus spike; 8 percent are worried about complying with social distancing, safety and health guidelines; 5 percent are concerned about employees not wanting to return to work; and only 11 percent had no anxiety about reopening.

As for their employees, 48 percent of small business owners expected to bring all employees back at the same number of hours, while 23 percent expected to employ fewer workers at reduced hours.

And as for those moving ahead with reopening, in terms of how they would be notifying customers, 54 percent said via email; 43 percent plan to offer promotions and sales; 31 percent will use paid social media; and 35 percent expect to benefit from “unpaid organic” social media content.

Do these results contradict other polls of small business owners, such as ones showing small business grit and optimism? Depending on how polls are conducted, there often will be contradictions. But in the case of being a small business owner, optimism, grit and anxiety often are all in the same mix, with entrepreneurs working to balance them while pushing ahead with their enterprises.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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