Survey shows how small businesses pivoted to survive COVID-19

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to small businesses nationwide, but a new survey shows what some have done to adapt and survive. 

The non-scientific poll of 1,000 small business owners commissioned by the online payment company Melio shows that 31% say embracing new technology has helped them stay afloat during the pandemic. 

More than half — 57% — of respondents said COVID-19 had a “somewhat” or “very” negative impact on their small business; 7% reported a positive impact, while 36% reported the pandemic had no impact on their business’ bottom line.

Twenty-five percent say the crisis and its related lockdowns and other impediments have “accelerated” their adoption of digital tools, like brick-and-mortar stores deploying online ordering.

Twenty-three percent say they were able to shift their workforce to working from home full time; the same number said they digitized payments from their customers. 

Nineteen percent of those polled said they upped their online advertising and marketing game, and 17% revamped their business’ website to help adapt to the “new normal.” 

On a related note, 21% increased their digital presence through social media; 22% started selling products online for the first time.

The poll also revealed that younger business owners were able to make these changes more quickly; 56% of those aged 26-41, for example, let their employees work remotely — just 17% of companies owned by boomers did so. Nearly 40% of the younger business owners also embraced digital payments for their company, compared to 12% of the owners 57 years old and over.

Fourteen percent of those companies surveyed say they started offering “new, digital products,” while 13% turned to gift cards or promises for future discounts to keep them afloat; 12% started curbside service.