COVID-19

(KMAland) -- Small and rural businesses across the country are adapting to the new normal and using digital tools to help their businesses survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

A recent survey finds small businesses are optimistic about reopening their businesses, empowered and fortified by digital tools and services, and resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council, says the pandemic brought challenges to small businesses, but they are able to adapt.

COVID-19 and the resulting quarantine nationwide has been particularly problematic for small businesses who don’t have the rainy-day savings that a larger company does. The inverse of that however is also true. Small business are more agile than their larger competitors. And, in many cases, empowered by digital tools and technologies and e-commerce marketplaces have been able to transition their traditional brick and mortar business to online more quickly than a large business, and thus, so far, have been able to weather the storm.”

In May, the Connected Commerce Council in partnership with Google conducted a survey of 500 small businesses across the country. The survey asked businesses how they were doing and how their business operations changed.

“What we found was fairly remarkable. The optimism of digitally empowered small businesses was nearly 74 percent. The value small businesses place on digital tools increased by twofold during the COVID-19 crisis. And, perhaps most importantly, nearly a third of small businesses said that without access to digital tools and resources, they would have gone out of business.”

Ward says there are several digital tools small business can use.

“Things as fundamental as email clients like Gmail. Or analytics programs, advertising platforms like Facebook and YouTube, as well as more back office programs like Intuits QuickBooks, or customer relations management software like Constant Contact or Salesforce. All of these tools provide an IT department, if you will, customizable, accessible, affordable and scalable for small businesses that enable them to, for not a lot of money and with very little customer support required, build a small stack and look and act like a much larger company for less money.”

However, Ward says some government officials are pressing campaigns against America’s technology sector, especially big firms.

“One of the higher priorities for small businesses even before the COVID-19 crisis was maintaining access to the digital tools, services and marketplaces, that empower their businesses. Now, in this new normal, it is even more important. The investigations and potential regulations being considered at some state government offices and some congressional committee’s really creates additional instability for small businesses at a time where they cant afford any more burden.”

Ward says the Connected Commerce Council, also known as 3C, is helping small businesses maintain access to the digital tools they need.

“We want to empower small businesses through digital tools and technology. Sometimes that includes advocacy. Other times it means connecting small businesses directly to the platforms or the tool services. Today we’re doing a lot of both. As the COVID-19 crisis has called into question the future stability of every small business in the county, we’re doing all that we can to connect our members, more than 10,000 small businesses across the county, directly to the resources they need, whether it be PPP loan programs, or how to better use Intuit to better manage their cashflow, as well as being a vocal advocate at the state and federal level on a myriad of issues.”

Learn more online and view the survey results at https://connectedcouncil.org/.