A Pandemic Silver Lining: Is There an Opportunity Here for Small Businesses?
As businesses of all sizes forge ahead through this pandemic reality, we’re still at the tip of the iceberg with new challenges arising daily. The companies that will thrive are those that can adapt.
For big and small companies alike, however, it’s important to create a calm work environment. The more you do to ensure your employees are calm, comfortable, and confident in the midst of so many changes, the more focused and productive they will be.
The business environment today is such that more people work for large corporations versus small businesses. It is no secret that small businesses are more swiftly feeling the impact of COVID-19. A recently published study by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses reveals key areas with which small businesses are struggling: layoffs, risk of closure, financial fragility, and difficulty accessing CARES Act relief. (PNAS July 28, 2020 117 (30) 17656-17666; first published July 10, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2006991117)
And this isn’t going to change any time soon. Eighty-one percent of U.S. small businesses expect the pandemic to affect their business over the next 12-16 months, according to a survey by Veem, a global payments network.
Despite this gloomy outlook could there be an opportunity, or silver lining of sorts, here for small businesses? Yes. In a word, it’s FLEXIBILITY.
Small businesses can be much more agile and creative in order to adapt more quickly than big businesses can to the constantly changing COVID business environment. They have more freedom to move. So when employees are wondering how they can possibly work while having to monitor their child’s remote learning or hybrid school schedule, small businesses have the room to find flexible solutions not available across a larger enterprise.
The standard way of doing things has changed. And small business owners are under a lot of pressure to manage expectations. More often than not, small businesses are managing a workforce for whom remote work isn’t an option. And as we know, employees at small businesses often wear multiple hats. Here’s where flexibility in terms of employee time off and use of benefits can be an incredible differentiator. And flexibility can also help small businesses to outmaneuver bigger companies when it comes to talent and retention.
So here’s my question for our small business leaders: what are you doing to create flexibility? How are you adapting? Let’s get a discussion going; please share your comments below.