Bredin Report: What COVID-19 help do SMBs want from you?

COVID-19 has been a cataclysm for many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs):

  • 1.85 million SMBs closed in the second quarter, with projected total COVID-19 closures exceeding the Great Recession
  • To pick one industry, 100,000 (which is one in every six) restaurants have closed permanently

According to our latest research,

  • Two in three SMBs (68%) are very concerned about a second wave of infections later this fall or winter
  • Almost two in five (38%) now expect their revenues will be down versus last year. In February, just before COVID-19 hit, only 6% did.
  • Almost one in three (30%) are temporarily closed, or operating on a limited basis
  • Almost three in five (59%) agree that COVID-19 will decrease their revenue this year
  • One in five (22%) feel that the worst is still ahead for their business
  • One in four (26%) doubt their businesses will survive COVID-19

It’s clear that many SMBs need significant help – and many marketers have stepped up. In fact, two in five (42%) SMBs agree that their vendors have been helpful during the pandemic. This compares to almost half (49%) saying the federal government has been helpful, 36% their state government, and 34% their city or town government.

But what kind help do SMBs most want from vendors in their moment of need?

  • Most of all, they want discounts or fee waivers – almost half (49%) want some sort of cost reduction. This makes sense, given the current extreme demands on SMB cash flow.
  • 42% want help promoting their business – topline revenue is critical for cash-starved SMBs. There are many ways to do this, from promoting customers on your website (or in your locations, if you have them) to providing assistance with or funding for online promotion.
  • 35% want business management tips. In fact, one in three (34%) report increasing their use of tips and advice from vendors like you in light of COVID-19. With COVID-19, we’re seeing interest in advice on expense management, financial assistance, technology (including ecommerce and online conferencing), security, and maintaining productivity.
  • 29% want free trials, for example of SaaS applications, and especially for apps that support online promotion and sales. Other Bredin research has shown that trialware is a great way to acquire customers (45% of triers migrate to paid subscriptions), but free trials are especially important now to cash-strapped SMBs.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs?
Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.