Where in the country are small businesses most ready to get back to business? As states lift restrictions and safety measures, some small businesses are more ready than others.
Overall, 24% of small businesses reported that they were ready to reopen. Florida leads the way, with 34% of small business reporting that they have a reopening plan in place. Georgia (29%) and New York (28%) are next in line.
The stats come from a survey done by Bluehost, which asked more than 1,000 small businesses about their reopening plans and optimism for growth. Bluehost also asked business owners when they thought their business would rebound from the hardships caused by the pandemic.
Small Businesses in Florida, Georgia and New York are Ready to Reopen
“The overwhelming outcome of Bluehost’s SMB Outlook Index is that small business owners are optimistic about what is to come, with respondents reporting feeling hopeful (43%) and motivated (39%), said Paula Drum, CMO of Newfold Digital, the parent company of Bluehost. “During the pandemic, we saw small businesses across the country adapt and prove resilient to the ever-changing world around.”
Drum said that small businesses found new ways to engage customers, whether that was getting their business online with a website and social media or keeping up to date on the most recent in-person restrictions from state to state.
“In fact, this resilience led to more than four out of five small business owners (85%) reporting that their business was successful in 2020,” Drum said. “I have no doubt that small businesses will see that same success in reopening to a post-COVID world.”
How Do You Know If Your Small Business is Ready for Reopening?
Drum said that a large majority of businesses have already started the process of creating a reopening plan, with nearly a quarter (24%) having a completed plan in place.
“However, one in five small business owners reported not knowing about or not having discussed putting a reopening plan,” Drum said. “Those without a plan are not alone, and still have time to build one that suits their business and its customers’ needs.”
Keep New Practices in Place During Reopening
If you embraced new digital technology during the pandemic, keep it going.
“My advice to small business owners is to not completely abandon the new practices they set up in the past year, especially as it comes to an online presence,” Drum said. “In fact, 38% of small businesses report anticipating an increased online presence to be a positive growth factor over the next twelve months.”
Drum said that consumer behavior also adjusted. Online tools became more popular during the pandemic.
The new consumer behavior started due to safety reasons but will become the new normal. That’s because of the convenience provided by use of online tools, Drum said.
Priorities of the Ready-to-Reopen Plans
“This includes updating Google My Business with in-store hours, updating the business’ website to reflect new procedures and mask requirements, setting up email marketing to update customers on reopening and online-only options, and posting to social media with opening information as available,” Drum said. “The final crucial step prior to reopening is to discuss and communicate your reopening plan clearly with staff.”
“Reopening to the world after the year we’ve had can feel like a big step,” she added. “But small businesses have shown they have the resilience, drive and optimism to succeed.”
The Survey Shows that Optimism Is High
And it’s important to point out that across the country, 71% of small businesses are optimistic about future growth. Where are small businesses feeling most optimistic? That would be Georgia (88%), North Carolina (80%) and New York (79%).
Small business owners report that they feel motivated and hopeful about the future. Not surprisingly, nearly half of small businesses surveyed said that the vaccine rollout would have a positive impact on their business before the end of 2021.
Some states felt the vaccine rollout would have an effect before the end of the year: Pennsylvania (26%), Virginia (24%), California (24%) believe the vaccine will have a positive impact by September.