One of the few positive things to come out of the last year is a clear showing of SMB resourcefulness and resilience. We spotlighted a few case studies in May that demonstrated this. Beyond those individual inspiring stories, lots of data suggest SMB optimism for a rebounding 2021.
Joining Localogy’s own SMB survey data (more on that in a bit), the latest data set comes from Amex… a company that knows a thing or two about SMBs. Its inaugural Entrepreneurial Spirit Trendex reports that 75 percent of surveyed SMBs (n=1000) are optimistic about their recovery.
Perhaps more notable, 82 percent say they’re better prepared to handle future crises. Beyond crises, this gives SMB survivors a new competitive edge in the post-Covid world. They’ve been fire-tested and have gained new capabilities and digital savvy that can now serve them in good times and bad.
The Age of Pivots
Also notable, SMBs aren’t necessarily left with a bitter taste in their months from 2020. Their resolve for being entrepreneurs hasn’t dimmed. Specifically, 81 percent say that the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges, including unforeseen curveballs like a global pandemic.
Speaking of curveballs, many SMBs had to pivot quickly over the past 10 months. Specifically, 76 percent say that they have pivoted their business model, or are in the process of doing so. Looking forward, 73 percent expect to pivot some part of their operations in the next year.
When asked about priorities, 81 percent of SMB owners are prioritizing cash flow management. This isn’t a surprising figure, and it specifically includes increased marketing efforts (41 percent) eCommerce (40 percent) cost-cutting (36 percent) and revenue diversification (35 percent).
As for what SMBs want in the current environment, 47 percent want more virtual events to gain knowledge, 44 percent want more virtual networking, 44 percent want more advice and resources about surviving a crisis, and 42 percent want leadership coaching resources such as shedding stress.
Back to Localogy’s survey data (shown above), it aligns with Amex’s data in several ways. Its ongoing Modern Commerce Monitor SMB survey released a series of sub-waves this year — the most recent in October with Wave V-IV — to zero in on pandemic-related SMB sentiments and behavior.
In addition to the factors outlined above, Mobile Commerce Monitor examines remote-work activity. Specifically, 55 percent of SMBs have employees working remotely. The good news is that this is down from 77 percent in Wave V-II of the study (April) and 66 percent in Wave V-III (June).
As for SMB feelings on current positioning and tech adoption, 54 percent will collaborate with employees in new ways and 54 percent will do the same with customers. 51 percent will sell more online, 55 percent will adopt contactless payments, and 60 percent are more tech adoptive overall.
This comes full circle to SMBs’ “fire-tested” capabilities and newfound digital-savvy. Without marginalizing those that haven’t survived, there will be a new bar set for a digital competitive edge among SMBs that do. This will make 2021’s rebound that much more apparent.