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How The COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Small Business

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The pandemic has been immensely challenging to small businesses worldwide, but these companies have mostly weathered the storm, changing how they operate and with whom. 

Learn more below about how small companies evolved during the global pandemic, and how they continue to do so. 

The Number of Startups Soared in 2020 and 2021 

We all remember how the American economy was largely shut down for several weeks in March and April 2020. This left many full-time professionals either out of work or experiencing a loss of work hours. 

But American workers are renowned for their abilities to thrive in challenging circumstances. The US Chamber of Commerce reports that Americans started 4.3 million small businesses in 2020 – the most since 2005. 

Many of these workers started their companies right out of their homes, in everything from consulting to software development. 

A few months after COVID hit, I started seeing a lot more overseas clients” says SEO consultant Michael Cottam.  “People got comfortable with doing business mostly over Zoom, and that made my services accessible to a lot more people.”

Some states saw small businesses start at an astonishing 20% higher rate than the year before, and there was a 25% spike in the number of new companies started. 

Not all the new companies were started by necessity, however. The Chamber of Commerce also finds that only 30% of entrepreneurs were out of a job in 2020 when they started their new businesses. 

Many professionals saw an opportunity during the lockdowns to begin working from home, it would seem, and seized the chance. 

Hybrid Business Models Soared In Popularity 

A hybrid way of doing business for both large and small businesses is another legacy of the pandemic. This business model involves selling products and services with an all-the-above approach to marketing. 

The hybrid method that is so popular post-pandemic includes using software and cloud applications to run a small business. Popular technology options that are booming this year include: 

  • Zoom
  • Stripe
  • DeepL
  • Google Translate
  • Hootsuite
  • Dropbox 

More competition after the COVID-19 pandemic has made it essential for small businesses to leverage a hybrid model to stay competitive. This manner of doing business with cutting-edge technology offers huge advantages as companies can boost collaboration, lead generation and often increase revenues because less in-person interaction and office space are needed. 

Doing More Business On Social Media

One of the more difficult aspects of navigating the small business world during the pandemic involved physical places of business. For weeks and even months, many small companies had to shutter their physical stores. As a result, a lot of doing business has shifted more than ever to the online world. 

With more small businesses working mostly or entirely online during the pandemic, however, it can be challenging. How do you stand out from the crowded field online? 

One way is to engage customers more effectively on social media and related platforms, including Instagram,  Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and ClubHouse. More Americans use social media to shop and learn about what they want to buy, and the best small businesses will take advantage of the chance. 

Going forward, it will be critical to figure out which social media channels are best for promoting your brand and products. If you don’t know how to leverage Instagram to sell your wares, bring in a skilled social media marketing contractor to show you the ropes. 

There’s no doubt that the pandemic created major business challenges worldwide. But it also was a unique opportunity for small business professionals here and abroad. They learned to be more flexible and to think about doing daily business in new, changing ways. 

Many of the difficulties confronted by small businesses during COVID-19 are still with us. But time and experience show that small companies are up to the challenge. And, we’re optimistic that small businesses going forward will learn the lessons of the pandemic and come through stronger than ever.