Keeping a small business open and profitable during the pandemic has proven stressful for many business owners. Researchers estimate that more than 200,000 small businesses across the U.S. have permanently closed their doors since March 2020, due to the pandemic, and others are still struggling. However, for some small businesses, embracing the new normal has actually taught them how to survive.
With an open economy in most of the country and hope on the horizon, new supply chain issues coupled with inflation and a difficulty finding employees, threaten to put the squeeze on small businesses once again. But there is still reason to cheer for small business success. According to a Small Business Insights survey of 2,000 small businesses, many of these companies are finding innovative ways to turn things around in a difficult environment.
In fact, three-quarters of businesses surveyed said they had to make significant changes to their business since the pandemic began, while 25% say they changed their entire business model.
One of the survey’s top findings revealed that increasing online revenue is the number one priority for small businesses—even for those that have brick-and-mortar stores. Pivoting to digital technology and focusing on cutting costs rounded out the top three trends.
Pivoting to success
Savvy small business owners, who have found a way to be flexible and adaptable in a crisis are reaping the benefits. Those businesses that already offered e-commerce shopping are achieving record sales—finding ways to promote their products and services through influencers and social media. Those businesses that traditionally offered services and products in-person are now offering online classes, live-streaming products, and giving advice and fitness training via the internet on digital platforms, such as Zoom.
A study by Freshworks, found that 35% of personal service providers started offering their services online in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. Those numbers continue to increase as more small business owners embrace the wide potential of digital technology—97% say digital technology will help them increase revenues.
With online revenue predicted to grow for most businesses in 2022, it will be critically important to nearly nine out of 10 small businesses. More than 42% of small businesses are more reliant on online sales each year; 12% already get 100% of their revenue online.
Serving a mobile workforce
The effect of the pandemic on small business also differs across industries. Industries such as real estate, professional services, and finance saw fewer disruptions in their operations since they were able to successfully shift to remote work.
Small businesses have also benefited from switching their landline business phone service to a less expensive and more versatile internet-calling business phone service, such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol). Not only does the switch save companies money from monthly fees and costs per call but can also eliminate the need for hardware and service calls, and in some cases, office space.
VoIP technology used with cloud services makes it easier for a mobile workforce to stay connected using softphone apps, video conferencing and virtual meetings, and still offer the features of a landline.
Economic confidence remains high
U.S. Business Formation reports that small business applications submitted in the U.S. are growing despite the pandemic. Applications submitted in 2020 were 24% higher than the 3.5 million applications submitted in 2019.
The trend continued in 2021, with 1.37 million small business applications submitted in the first quarter of the year and 1.44 million submitted in the second quarter.
As they continue to work through their supply chain issues and find ways to cut costs, roughly 44% of small businesses say they still plan to hire more employees in the coming months, while only 3% expect to downsize.
Businesses that offer online and offline sales seem to be the most optimistic about the economy. As the pandemic continues to hang on, it’s clear that small business optimism should be met with ample preparation.
Get on the cloud
Providers, such as Joon®, offer cloud-based phone systems with the tools and expertise to help your team.
Schedule a call with Joon to learn more about our VoIP business phone services with personalized solutions and unmatched tech support.
At Joon, we not only guarantee but promise solutions—no matter what the issue.
Learn more about VoIP and how Joon can provide customized business communications solutions specific to your business by filling out the form below or call us at 844-GET JOON.