Impact of COVID on SMBs
The pandemic hasn’t just adversely affected public health, it has also harmed the economy at all levels, and to this day its effects persist. According to a report by Dun & Bradstreet, over 82% of small and medium businesses have been negatively impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Business activity in India came to a standstill in March 2020 after the outbreak of COVID-19. And it is the small businesses that have been hit the hardest. 70% believe it will take them almost a year to recover demand to pre-pandemic levels.
Challenges faced by SMBs:
As the government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic, what was also contained was the aspirations of hundreds of businesses.
Sustaining business amidst uncertainty
Perhaps the biggest problem that businesses faced and are facing today. The pandemic gave businesses the greatest shock. Everything came to a halt so suddenly that the next couple of days, weeks, or months were spent contemplating what exactly was going on.
Businesses normally save up for crisis, but the nature of the crisis that hit in 2020 was unlike any seen before. The uncertainty around the virus and the fastly reducing funds led to either downsizing or the closing of a business.
The revenue losses for small and medium businesses were relatively larger than that of large-sized businesses. With the limitations that SMBs generally face, it becomes even difficult for them to take steps that increase their presence in the market.
To top that, government regulations, health concerns, insufficient resources, etc. only shrunk market access for them. As a result, a majority of SMBs saw a steep dip in their revenue generation.
Adjusting to remote work
The fact that a team was spread out in ten different directions was in itself a difficult challenge to overcome. And small businesses have been reported to have been the slowest to adapt to remote work, for obvious reasons like lack of adequate infrastructure and resources.
Plus, the stress of balancing work and staying productive, and the highly fragmented communication with colleagues didn’t make remote work that attractive. For many, it was almost like everything coming all at once and that made it difficult for them to adjust to the new normal.
Fighting increased levels of stress
With the previously known reality slowly fading into the past and the burden of adapting to the new normal growing each day, stress and worry levels were at an all-time high. Business owners reported increased levels of anxiety and depressive disorders.
And the added uncertainty on when it will all end only increased those levels. Staying focused, helping the team stay focused, and taking corrective measures with a crowded mind made handling business an even greater challenge.
The need to go digital
With social distancing and remote working becoming the norm, all businesses, regardless of their size, were forced to reevaluate their business strategies. Although a majority realized the importance of transforming their business, not all were able to implement the necessary changes.
The pressure to digitize was severe for small and medium businesses. And this proved incredibly challenging for businesses that solely relied on on-field sales or anything that involved direct customer contact.
Apart from the challenges mentioned above, businesses faced even greater troubles depending on the industry they belonged to. Will things ever go back to normal? No one knows. But what has been made crystal clear is that to ensure the continuity of business, digital transformation is imperative.
With the current crisis, the drastically developing technologies, and the increased competition, digitization is no more an option for SMBs, but a necessity. The implementation of the right strategies and the adoption of befitting tools to put those strategies into effect is the need of the hour.
Despite the tremendous impact that the pandemic exerted, many small and medium businesses redirected their strategies to operating business in ways they never could have imagined. Initially, the technological adjustments felt a little out of place but got better with time.
The adoption of digital tools made managing teams easier, broadened customer engagement, streamlined process management, and a lot more. This transition not only helped businesses survive but also provided growth.
With so many tools available today, both free and paid, SMBs can easily bridge the digital gap that persists in their businesses. NeoBiz is one such free tool that helps micro, small and medium businesses manage their customer engagement and increase their sales.
Click here to download the NeoBiz app today to manage your sales easily.