Comcast Business recently revealed some interesting survey results, finding that most small businesses are actually prepared for a spike in COVID-19 cases as late fall and early winter draw near. The survey was conducted among small business owners, presidents, and CEOs, with nearly 600 respondents.
The survey looked into how businesses have managed the pandemic and how optimistic businesses remain as it continues. While the vast majority (86 percent) have indeed experienced a decline in revenue, 78 percent feel that they are prepared for a new spike. Forty-six percent have had to rethink how they do their business in general, while 50 percent have had to make adjustments to how they serve their customers. Forty-five percent have made changes to how they collaborate and communicate as a result of the pandemic.
Image via Comcast Business
While confidence is high, the pandemic has clearly taken a mental toll on business owners. The survey found that 65 percent of small business owners said they were "stressed" as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on their business. As many as 68 percent indicated that they had lost at least one hour of sleep per night.
On the positive side, however, the survey found that business owners are fast-tracking new technologies, teaching themselves how to adapt, and feeling prepared for the future.
Comcast Business Chief Marketing Officer Eileen Diskin commented, “Over the past six months, small and mid-size businesses have shown tremendous resolve and agility. This survey offers encouraging insights into the current mindset of small business owners as they adapt their businesses for the future and prepare for the potential of a second spike in COVID-19 activity. The resiliency of small business owners cannot be overstated."
Image via Comcast Business
In terms of fast-tracking new technology, roughly a third (31 percent) of responding business owners said they would never have implemented the technologies they did if the pandemic had not occurred. Twenty-three percent said it would have taken them one to three years to implement such changes. As a result of implementation, businesses have made themselves more agile and better suited to deal with ongoing challenges. In many cases, operations are even more efficient.
Forty-three percent of those polled said they did not rely on resources from others when it came to how they adapted to the new normal. Twenty-nine percent said they depended on business partners, while 22 percent said they relied upon industry peers. Interestingly, while technology companies made solutions freely available to businesses after the pandemic hit, an astounding 82 percent did not take advantage of these. This would seem to suggest that even as small businesses are persevering, there is significant room for additional improvement, especially if they take advantage of available resources and opportunities. As Comcast pointed out in its report, some of these technologies may help businesses reduce unnecessary expenses.
At the time the survey results were collected, only one in five (21 percent) of businesses felt that they had gotten back to the point of normal operations. Over half (53 percent) predicted it would take six months to a year to do so. Twenty-three percent thought it would be more than a year.
Still, 87 percent of the small business owners surveyed felt that they are more prepared for the future in general, which is impressive, given that 86 percent have had their revenues negatively impacted. The survey also found that 79 percent consider themselves to be more technologically savvy now.
Ultimately, the pandemic has taught business owners a valuable lesson in resilience, and the need to future-proof. It seems as though most have taken that lesson to heart.