By: First Union
Small Businesses and the Coronavirus Impact
It is going to be a slow recovery process across the country, especially when it comes to small businesses, as some of the hits they've taken have been quite devastating. Recent surveys indicate that on average 85% of small business owners are seriously worried about the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their ability to survive. Having had to transition most of their workforce to a remote situation and/or lay off workers altogether, the concern regarding whether or not they will ever be able to return to "normal" operations rises daily for many.
And it's not just about losing workers. Numerous business owners had to make other significant adaptations because of COVID-19. From downsizing utility usage, to reducing the amount of business insurance they had in place, to temporarily shutting their doors, to having to apply for working capital loans, small businesses are just trying to figure out how they will bounce back when all is said and done.
What Some Owners Are Doing to Make it Through
With the introduction of the PPP, for some business owners, this has been a lifeline—their sole means of making it through until the country is once again open for business. Over 30% of US businesses have reported applying for the loan program. And while the system has some kinks to be worked out, smaller companies are getting the funds they need at this critical time.
What are business owners using the funds for beyond immediate cash flow needs…Many are utilizing it for payroll, some for rent, and others for utility payments. The problem encountered by many however is by the time they applied, they noted that the funds were already gone. Over fifty percent reported this issue.
In the interim, until they can officially reopen, many small businesses are taking steps to ensure the safety of their workers and customers. Fearing that a new wave of the virus will force them to once again close, they are not taking any chances in terms of health and sanitation measures. From trying to figure out how to ensure social distancing can be safely adhered to, to getting all of the necessary PPE, owners want to be prepared when allowed to reopen. The problem again though comes with money. To integrate such safety precautions, they need the funds to do so.
Not all, however, is as bad as it may seem—some are indeed optimistic about their future over the long term. Of those surveyed, nearly eighty percent say that they fully intend to hire back those employees that were laid off during lockdown. Those in the service industry especially are most definitely looking forward to being able to bring back their staff (84%/). Also, many are even suggesting that once the economy is back in full swing, they foresee a need to hire on more employees.