UPS’ Inside Small Business Survey reveals 41% of small business owners have pivoted their business in the wake of COVID-19. The survey of more than 330 entrepreneurs, reveals how small businesses have adapted and became resilient.
As some businesses ground to halt others have looked for opportunities among the challenges and soldiered on. Temporary closures, reductions in demand and employee health concerns initially wreaked havoc. however, this did not faze some, as it allowed them to look inwards to change their operations to suit the changing times.
UPS Store Small Business Pivoting Survey
According to the findings, small businesses seized the advantage to pivot using their relative speed. Small business owners made constant adjustments to their businesses at the first sign of coronavirus related challenges. They started communicating more with their customers seeing transparency as crucial towards building and maintaining loyalty. Much akin to the sage adage ‘There’s always an opportunity with crisis’ others looked towards technology to face the challenge head-on.
For instance, 65% of businesses have started doing more business online. A further 34% are sending products to their customers instead of delivering them in person. Almost a third (28%) have shifted to e-commerce. While 15% are offering curbside deliveries to address the health concerns of their customers.
In addition, they started looking at making changes to the workspace by initiating work from home procedures. This helped ease fears of infection as well as maintain productivity levels.
Challenges and How They Cope
Despite some silver linings, many are still anxious about the future. However, the sentiment has improved since the first canvas in mid-March. In fact, it has now dropped to 40% down from 56% in mid-march.
Optimism too has seen a spike by almost a third reaching 47% since its doldrums in mid-March at 38%. It is to be noted that during the first canvas 92% had admitted to feeling the impact of COVID-19 on their business in some way.
The survey, which is part of UPS’s on-going tracking survey on small business owners also found that small business owners are no strangers to stress. In it, heavy workloads (15%), long working hours (12%) and tight deadlines (11%) are the three major stressful aspects of their jobs. As a testament to the resilience of small businesses a whopping 60% prescribe working through it as a solution. Prioritizing tasks and responsibilities (44%) and figure out a solution were also popular solutions (39%).
The survey findings indicate small businesses compared to bigger businesses were able to relatively pivot easily. This was due to their relative size, which allows them to easily transition towards instituting work from home measures, new operation procedures and retain much of their workforce.
The Importance of Being Resilient
It is important for America’s more than 27 million small business owners to be resilient. They need to be able to recover from setbacks, adapt to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. Resilient businesses face reality with steadfastness, make meaning of hardship and improvise solutions.
For a business to stay resilient it needs to stay focused, productive, and energetic. It is important to look inwards to find strengths from within to stand up to adversity. The key to this is to help your workforce adapt to change and keep moving so that you succeed and thrive.
During times of crisis, it is important to maintain connections and avoid seeing them as insurmountable. A frank conversation on the current realities and accepting that change is part of work will help clarify your position as well.
Across the world resilient businesses are taking a review on how they produce products, manage supply chains and deal with dwindling employee and customer base. Those ahead of the curve have already started modifying their business models to continue operations.
By focusing on safety first they are also relying on technology to meet the challenges head-on. They are going online to strengthen relations with customers and tapping more into the potential of e-commerce. They are looking at remote working to maintain productivity levels and guarantee safety. It might take time, perseverance and practice to build resilience, but the long-term outcomes are always worth the effort.