If you are like many business owners, 2020 hasn’t been great for you. It’s so sad to see so many businesses that have been forced to close their doors because the government shut them down, because their clients couldn’t continue to pay for their goods or services or because their industry became less desirable or not “essential” in 2020. Either way, it stinks.
Small Businesses in the United States
Did you know that there are 30.7 MILLION small businesses in the U.S., which account for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses? Of course, the Small Business Administration (SBA) determines a small business as one that has fewer than 500 employees, not quite small in my mind. However, those with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2% and those with fewer than 20 employees make up for 89% of all businesses – this is us ya’ll. Read that again… you and I are small business owners that make up just under 90% of the business in the United States.
- <500 employees = 99.9% of U.S. businesses
- <100 employees = 98.2% of U.S. businesses
- <20 employees = 89% of U.S. businesses <<<< Ya’ll this is US!
So, when the government “shut life down” – they shut down the majority of businesses. The Big Box companies weren’t forced to shut down, for the most part, and if you were “essential” like food or health related, you stayed open. I don’t know about you, but nobody but ME determines what is essential to me. Anyways, I digress… </rant>
The Small Business Shift
During the shut down, many business had to take a look at what they were doing, what they were offering and think outside of the box. This was the time to spend more time improving online presence, get that website up and running, optimize your older but functional website, add more money to your paid ads and/or shift what you are offering to appeal to the new world we live in.
People spent more time online surfing the net, spent more time scrolling their social feeds, spent more time shopping online… more than ever. This isn’t just because of Covid. Folks have been shopping online more and more over the years, as shown in this chart comparing 2016 to 2021 and the number of shoppers in millions in the world. But I bet that people were shopping online more OFTEN, because they had more free time, more down time, more time alone, more time home.. you get the idea.
Tap into Online Business
Amazon surely wasn’t suffering – but this is a place that more businesses could tap into, but did they? Sure, some did but many fell short. This is why more and more small businesses suffered and were forced to shut down. Of course, many may not have had an opportunity to SHIFT and Thrive. However, the true entrepreneurs that have that killer mindset found a way.
Find your Shift
For example, sure, the cruise lines were shut down so if your primary business was selling cruises.. what now? Well, you could start a blog and start sharing your stories of where to go when things open back up. You could provide travel tips for cruising, or how to pack, what to pack, things to remember when going to X. The point is to stay top of mind to folks who are looking for that type of service. Because you can bet, when the time came and cruising opened back up, people will buy that cruise. It’s just a matter of who was top of mind, who was in that space, who were they seeing online? There is opportunity, you just have to think outside of the box.
Look for the Opportunity
Keep in mind, that while many were unemployed and may or may not have been getting unemployment benefits or help, there were many that were getting paid to work from home or just paid to stay home and be healthy. There are many that have set themselves up for success and had that disposable income. There is definitely opportunity. Because seriously, if there weren’t.. then why were hardware stores buzzing? It wasn’t because everyone’s lightbulbs went out (or was it? lol), it was because people were doing projects, remodeling their homes, redoing the floors and etc, while they were off. People still have to live in their homes, still drive their cars (maybe just less), still have to eat, still need to workout, still need to fix things that are broken. We just need to find that OPPORTUNITY and tap into it!
Digital Marketing is Still the Way to Go!
Either way, the point.. don’t stop that marketing, don’t stop paying for that domain name, don’t waste your “extra” time when you could be optimizing your website, ramping up your ads and your business.. for now.. or for when things turn around. While direct to site traffic (they remember you) is still the best source of traffic, email and search (that’s from SEO and Paid ads) are the next leading source of traffic for online shopping, per this graph from Big Commerce and Statista.
Folks are not only buying online at these rates, from these traffic sources, but also researching for services too. Sixty-three percent (63%) of shopping journeys start online… more people start online. In this article by Sleeknote, they mention how smart it is to invest in digital marketing strategies like SEO! Are you there for your customers to find?
Fix Your Website!!!
On that same note, the way your website looks and the ease of use, is super important. Well duh, right? Who wants to work to find what you are looking for on a website.
Ya’ll, I don’t know how many times I have said to make your website pretty, clean and easy to navigate. This is the time to work on this! Don’t delay, get on it now. This will definitely help your business to survive and thrive through this crazy world we are all living right now!
The Time is Now – Well, Yesterday
I don’t know what else I need to tell you.. but starting/finishing your website and then optimizing your website will improve your digital visibility. Maybe start some paid ads on Google to get quicker visibility. Start a new blog or get back to blogging. Find new opportunities to network online. Create new products or services that fit with your industry or niche. No matter what you do, fight! The times we are living now aren’t changing quick enough “back to normal” so we need to adapt and overcome. We need to shift from just surviving to thriving and kicking butt.
If I can help you with your online presence, get some ads going for your service or ecommerce business, create your website so you can get started, contact me and let’s get started so YOU can get started thriving!
Very inspiring post for small businesses! Loved the inclusion of all the data & charts. I read today that 40% of small businesses don’t have websites, which is alarming. In 2021 and beyond, an effective online presence is essential. Hopefully businesses will prioritize investing in their digital marketing again very soon so that can compete.
Kristen Day says
I knew if anyone, YOU would appreciate the charts and data! I did that with you in mind! Thank you for being a great friend and fellow bada&& biz owner! Thank you for the comment… and you are right, super alarming, how are these folks expecting to be seen or heard if they aren’t even IN the space??? Thank you!