Bredin Report: How is COVID-19 affecting SMB priorities?

With so much of the focus of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) today on coping with the effects of COVID-19, we wanted to see how SMB priorities have changed since just before the pandemic. The results are intriguing:

  • The biggest change is with coping with economic uncertainty; 64% rate it a somewhat or much higher priority now than it was before COVID-19. That’s very understandable, given how challenging and unpredictable the business environment has been. To the degree that you can give SMBs context for their business environment and help them chart a course forward, they’ll perceive your brand more positively.
  • Close behind is retaining current customers; 63% rate it a higher priority now than at the beginning of the year. As new customer acquisition has become more difficult, focusing on current customers is essential to maintaining cash flow. Demonstrating how you can help with customer retention and upsell, whether through your offerings or advice, will enhance your standing with SMBs.
  • After that is managing costs and finding new customers, tied at 62%. As COVID-19 has depressed revenue for a wide range of SMBs, controls on costs from supplies to payroll to rent have become increasingly important. Likewise, new customers can help SMBs supplement revenue lost from lower-spending current customers, even if new customer acquisition is especially challenging in this environment. Helping SMBs to manage expenses through your solutions or advice – or to win new customers – is a great way to boost your site traffic and sales.

How has COVID-19 affected your business priorities? Please indicate whether each of these business objectives is a higher or lower priority now than it was at the start of the year.

  • The fifth-biggest priority increase is managing cash flow (56%). With 43% of SMBs expecting their 2020 revenues to be less than last year, aligning income with expenses is especially challenging.
  • After that is retaining good employees, at 54%. While consistently meeting payroll has been difficult for many SMBs (32% have decreased full-time staff), they also recognize how essential their team is to their survival.
  • While none of the business challenges we surveyed have decreased in importance since the start of the year, the one that has increased least is coping with climate change – 28% of SMBs rate that a higher priority now. Although hurricanes, wildfires, drought and other natural disasters have increased in severity this year, they have been overshadowed by COVID-19.

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.