Small Business in America: It’s Gut-Check Time
Being a small business resilience speaker and having my own business, I relate on a personal level to one of the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic: how it impacted small business across America.
By May 12, 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 100,000 small businesses had shut their doors.
A small business doesn’t necessarily mean a “Mom and Pop Stationery Store.” The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having as many as 1,500 employees and $35 million in sales.
When a small business goes out of business, it is a tragedy. A business isn’t a “thing,” it’s people trying to build something for themselves and their families.
It is Time for Small Business to Go Big
In July 2020, the United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey entitled “Small Business Corona Virus Impact Poll.” The poll reported that of the small businesses that survived the first wave, “Two-thirds of small businesses (65%) are concerned about having to close again or stay closed if there is a second wave…”
The survey reminds us that after the initial lockdown occurred, 85 percent of small businesses were forced to temporarily close. They don’t know if they can survive a second onslaught.
However, there is optimism in this bleakness. Businesses are taking action to anticipate the second wave: 32 percent are purchasing extra inventory, 29 percent are updating websites and improving social media profiles, and 25 percent are refining and boosting e-commerce.
While I’m pleased that small businesses are taking steps to look ahead, there is much more that can be done. In an Associated Press release, entitled “Ways Small Businesses Can Fight Back Amidst COVID-19 and the Retail Apocalypse,” Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan had some interesting insights including the implied need for local businesses to have the determination to reach out to local communities and to make an impact.
There is great wisdom in reaching out locally. In fact, Mr. Buchanan now sells his produce almost exclusively online.
When I speak to small business associations, I encourage each organization to develop a mindset that envisions success. Does your small business have a vision that looks beyond the current challenges to overcome the challenges?
While buying extra inventory, updating websites and boosting e-commerce are necessary, they are passive.
An important part of having the mindset to overcome challenges is to be creative, to be willing to be an active participant in finding new ways to get customers “in the door,” and to share that vision with every member of your organization. This is called resilience.
Whether you have a dog grooming business with three employees or 300 grooming businesses with 500 employees, there must be a shared vision. To be truly resilient means that everyone in the organization must be determined to pull together to encourage opinions and to believe in your mission.
My heart aches for those small businesses barely holding their own, but I would feel even worse if the only thing standing between success and failure of a small business in the coming months was a lack of resilience to meet the challenges.
Let’s all be determined to have the daily grit to make the vision work and the resilience to do what we need to do to get through this time together.
Scott Burrows, Small Business Resilience Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169