As the business world continues to recover from the COVID pandemic, small business owners are demonstrating changes in approach that have helped them survive in recent years. According to small business owners, sales remain a major challenge, but marketing has prevailed over the past two years.
The results of a recent BizSugar survey shed light on how small business priorities have changed over the past two years. In the 2021-2022 Small Business Challenge Survey, small business owners demonstrate a greater need for sales, focus on marketing, and strategies for business disruptions compared to a similar 2019 survey.
Impact of the pandemic on small businesses
In the survey, conducted between October 2021 and February 2022, more than 1,300 respondents answered questions about the challenges their small businesses face. These responses were compared to a similar survey also conducted on the Zoho platform between October and December 2019. The differences offer a chilling look at how the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect small businesses.
“The results of the survey told a story of a pandemic,” says small business marketing expert Ivana Taylor, who assessed the results of the survey. “They talked about working remotely on challenges. The survey captured the nuances that small business owners were dealing with during the pandemic. “
While sales and marketing remain the biggest challenge for respondents to the new survey, a greater concern was expressed about marketing concerns than in 2019. 43% of 2021-2022 respondents say marketing is its main challenge, compared to 30% in 2019.
Meanwhile, the number of people who say sales are their biggest challenge fell from 42% in 2019 to 32% in 2021-2022. According to Taylor, this indicates a shift in priorities among small business owners, who had previously focused on selling as much as possible. The marketing and technology used to support marketing strategies had been put in the background while brands were focusing on their customers.
At the time, brick and mortar companies around the world were forced to close their doors and much of the trade almost stopped in early 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic hit small business owners the opportunity to re-evaluate their challenges and, in the absence of clients, to concentrate. your time in new endeavors.
“The shift from a sales approach to a marketing one represents the madness of attracting customers during a pandemic,” Taylor explains.
43% of small business owners say marketing is their biggest challenge after the pandemic
Suddenly, working from a distance, small business owners found themselves in need of the technology they had ignored. In fact, while 40% of respondents said marketing was the area of their business that needed the most attention in 2019, that number dropped to 30% in 2021-2022. At the same time, more respondents expressed the need to focus on customer service after the pandemic.
The BizSugar survey also shows how small business owners survived the pandemic by changing spending priorities. When asked what they would do with $ 10,000 in excess cash, respondents were more likely to spend unexpected revenue on marketing efforts, on their websites, or by investing funds.
“The pandemic taught them that they had to have access to cash, if they had 10,000, yes investments in marketing and sales were the best, but so was investing and diversifying risk,” says Taylor. “Small businesses recognize that they need to protect their money by investing in cryptocurrency, diversification and investing in technology.”
When asked what they liked least about running a business, survey participants expressed contempt for marketing, process implementation, and management tasks. These responses indicate that the focus of small business owners is still on their products, services, and customers.
“Small businesses never liked sales and marketing, but the pandemic made them hate sales and marketing; they like to do the things they do in their business, they like to interact with customers; they don’t like mechanics. “Running a business is a completely different set of skills, and it bothers them to have to focus so much on the administrative part of running a business,” says Taylor.
The BizSugar survey also reveals not only that recruitment among the small business community has recovered as a result of Covid-19, but has also increased from pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, 40% of respondents defined themselves as solo entrepreneurs. In 2021, that number was halved.
Nearly twice as many respondents say they would hire help to take a major initiative. According to Taylor, this change is the result of small business owners stepping into unknown waters. They had to hire and get help to successfully transition their business and survive the pandemic.
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