COVID-19 has touched every nation on earth; its impact has changed how we live and work. And while there have been commercial casualties there have also been areas of growth. It’s likely that as the economic strife continues, there will be a shift towards more new businesses being formed. Organisations which provide support to SMBs will see demand grow as the situation unfolds.
So, does your current offering cater well enough to SMBs? What else could you do for them, and could an ecommerce site-builder offer a sticky solution to a complex problem? Help those new small businesses now, when the going is tough, and they’ll stick with you in the long term.
The current situation: economic downturn and a global recession looming?
As McKinsey points out in their October 7th briefing note, the pandemic has seen a greater downturn than the recession of 2009; the economic shrinkage of this year has occurred across all sectors. McKinsey refers to ‘COVID-19 and the great reset.’ It’s easy to see why. With the virus touching every area of our lives, it was inevitable that the impact on businesses and economies worldwide would be profound.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) published figures in June which indicated that the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs had been lost worldwide. And the UN’s labour agency predicts a rocky road to recovery, with even the best-case scenario failing to elevate the global economy to pre-pandemic levels.
It seems that the economy will continue to weather a violent storm. For millions of small businesses, the path ahead is uncertain. And yet amongst all the turmoil, there are shoots of new growth.
Out of crisis comes opportunity
A moment of crisis has often sparked the biggest changes throughout history. Faced with difficulty, people look for new ways of doing things; innovation becomes part of everyday life. In the UK alone, 75,000 new businesses were formed in June 2020, an increase of 25,000 on the same month in 2019. That figure accounts only for businesses which were large enough to register with the government section, Companies House. It does not account for sole traders, solopreneurs or side hustlers. When you consider the number of people, globally, who have lost their jobs and are embarking on a tentative new business venture, that number could easily be doubled, trebled or quadrupled.
Indeed, the news may be largely disheartening, but look a little closer and there are seeds of growth. Globally, businesses in the technology, healthcare and online entertainment sector have boomed. Trends in China suggest that the Western world will follow suit and these areas will flourish. Arguably, that is already happening, as the explosion of platforms such as Zoom and TikTok suggest.Huge success stories start somewhere
Disney, HP, and GE all thrived at a time when competitors profits’ nosedived. Airbnb, Uber, Slack – huge names and all a product of the last recession. When our backs are against the wall, we humans get creative, and none more so than entrepreneurs. Even in sectors that have been hit hard, such as retail, there are opportunities. Online shopping soared during lockdown, as we were confined to our homes. The pandemic saw the hospitality trade badly hit and with it, their supply chains. So instead of supplying food to cafes and restaurants, farmers sold boxes of fresh produce to the public, rather than let it go to waste.
All new businesses need support
Now more than ever your current and new customers need your support. All organisations, whether they are as big as Disney or as small as a solopreneur, need to be online. They’re crying out for help. They don’t only need a phone line, they need a web presence. And if they are selling products, they need an ecommerce site that puts them in control and doesn’t cost a fortune. Any new venture needs support and turning to solutions which are known and familiar is tempting for new business owners. It’s why so many makers and retailers sell through platforms like Etsy and eBay. And while those platforms offer a quick fix, they don’t give business owners the flexibility that having their own ecommerce site does.
As more and more people are made redundant, put onto reduced hours and face a wave of continuing uncertainty, many new businesses will emerge. And those people will be looking for support.
That’s where you come in – and where we can help
Could a website give your SMB customers the great start they need? In 2016, nearly half of small businesses did not have a website. That’s simply not an option in 2020. With swathes of the global population socially distancing, locked down or spending less time in traditional shopping and entertainment venues, having a presence on the place where we all hang out – the internet – is key. By helping your customers to succeed, you support small businesses, gain loyalty and demonstrate that you’re a helpful, viable option for people looking to begin a new venture.
Customers success is your success
COVID-19 is likely to be with us for a while and so will economic uncertainty. Where there is uncertainty, people start looking for new opportunities. Help your customers be the authors of their own futures. Look again at what you offer, and if you think the time is right to help your small business customers thrive online, get in touch.