Each day, as the pandemic delivers another blow to the global economy, there seems to be news of a well-known company having to close its doors or file for bankruptcy. Yet, in cities and small towns around the globe, the world’s smallest businesses display a remarkable determination to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new global survey from GoDaddy.
Make no mistake, these micro-businesses — nearly all of them with 10 employees or less — have been battered by the COVID-19 storm. Seventy-five percent of them report suffering reductions in revenues, and 2 in 5 said they had to shut down at least temporarily.
The survey covered 5,265 of the smallest of small businesses from around the world (Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States). And, it found only three percent reported permanent closures.
This underscores the resilience of the entrepreneurial spirit and offers some hopeful insight into their collective future.
These survey findings about everyday entrepreneur resilience align with other ongoing GoDaddy research, Venture Forward, which illustrates the positive impact micro-businesses have on their local communities and the national economy.
While that research looks at their impact, this 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey sheds light on the perceptions of entrepreneurs enduring the pandemic. The survey found a steely resolve to not only survive this economic crisis but thrive.
Adapting to the new normal
While 2020 is poised to continue to be a difficult year, 7 out of 10 said they expect to recover within a year and 63 percent expect to experience a 25 percent or more growth by 2025. Many of them are dealing with adversity the only way entrepreneurs know how: by adapting.
Many reported they’re deploying technology to become more digital, starting new ventures and looking for side hustles. Thirty percent of respondents reported that they either had started a side hustle or intend to due to the pandemic. And more than half of those with a business website reported updating their website to add an online store, include more content, or begin or increase digital marketing to promote their business.
For the first time in GoDaddy’s five years of conducting global surveys of small businesses, millennials have become the majority of survey respondents (compared to 32 percent GenX and 18 percent baby boomers) reflecting the changing demographics of global entrepreneurs. And they typically approach technology with more zest than their older counterparts. For example, millennials reported that they were more than twice as likely to merchandise products and services through a social media platform than baby boomers.
Surprises in the data
Despite the United States being among the hardest hit by the current pandemic, U.S. micro-businesses are among the most resolute.
Other than Germany, the United States reported the lowest percentage of businesses that had to close down, even temporarily, and had the lowest level of businesses (66 percent) reporting a reduction in revenues. Micro-businesses in Mexico, at 85 percent reporting a reduction in revenues, are the hardest hit among the 10 countries surveyed.
Due to their size, many micro-business owners grapple with whether to create a website for their business. Globally, 2 in 5 have done so, although nearly as many (37 percent) report a desire to do so.
Here’s a potential reason: those that already had a website were less likely to report they had to close their business because of the pandemic.
Remarkably, most of these very small businesses have survived on their own. While many countries have instituted relief programs for small businesses, only 3 in 10 across the globe reported receiving such assistance, likely because they were too small to qualify for traditional SMB relief programs.
In the meantime, very small businesses have again shown that sometimes it’s the small trees that survive the storm. Here’s to sharing inspiration for everyday entrepreneurs around the world, to continue weathering the storm.
More insights from GoDaddy’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey