In early February, we started including questions about the Covid-19 in our monthly small business surveys. We wanted to get a sense of how this pandemic is affecting business owners and their plans for the rest of 2020. The initial results showed that businesses were not that concerned. Only 10% of business owners interviewed thought the coronavirus would have an impact on their business. The majority of those businesses were in the travel, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare industries, and they already saw some implications.
Since then, there have been massive changes. The coronavirus has spread, we are in a bear market, sporting events are canceled, schools are closed in many areas, there are travel bans, and the list goes on.
As one would expect, the results from the March wave shows significant changes. Now 55% of business owners feel the virus will have an impact on their business this year. This number will go up even higher as the majority of interviews were conducted before this week’s announcements.
We are in the process of compiling all the results of the latest survey, however here are some initial responses around various topics:
Retail owner- “We are putting a hold on our expansion plans. We don’t know how this will impact us yet.”
Restaurant owner- “Our budgets will be cut. We will probably have to let staff go.”
General contract owner- “Right now, people are still letting us in their homes. That might change. I can see a scenario where people kick us out and postpone a project. We are trying to get as much done as we can right now. Who knows what will happen a month from now.”
HVAC owner- “Our employees go from home to home. There is concern that this could increase the risk of exposure. We have spoken with our employees about safety precautions and are asking homeowners about the presence of sick individuals. Do we serve those customers or not?”
Coffee Shop owner- “We have not seen much impact yet. We have talked with our employees about enhanced sanitary practices. If it becomes more prevalent, in our area, it could impact us more.”
Retail Owner- “It’s crazy. There are certain items we can’t keep in stock. Right now, we’ve seen increases in sales.”
We will have a full report out soon and we plan to track this over the coming months.