Coronavirus on Commerce: Survey Takes Pulse of Small Business

by Mike Hunter

It’s probably no surprise that roughly 87 percent of small-business owners say their businesses are hurting from the coronavirus, a figure reported in WalletHub’s new Coronavirus Small Business Survey, released this month. This survey, which follows WalletHub’s report on State Economies Most Exposed to Coronavirus, shows some of the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted business owners’ livelihoods and their opinions on topics such as reopening the economy.

“We surveyed the small-business community, and more than 87 percent of small-business owners say their businesses are hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic,” says WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “There are a few clear reasons for this. For one thing, hardly any business is unaffected. It’s not like just a sector or two of the economy has taken a downturn. Most businesses are going to zero revenue, and most businesses can’t survive long without any cash flow. Like most consumers, most businesses have too little saved and too much debt to hunker down and ride out this type of shock to the system without outside intervention.”

Pointing to the survey’s finding that approximately 35 percent of small-business owners say their companies can survive for less than three months in current conditions, Papadimitriou observes, “Given the dire circumstances, it’s understandable why more than 68 percent of small-business owners say the government is not doing enough to help the small-business community.”

Papadimitriou believes there is reason for most small-business employees to be worried about their job security right now. “One-third of small-business owners say they have laid off employees due to COVID-19, and a slightly higher share — 36 percent — plan to do so,” he says. “Everyone should make a plan for what to do in the event they lose their income, just in case. This whole event should really hammer home the importance of having an emergency fund.”

In spite of the business hardship, most business owners surveyed do not support reopening the economy as soon as possible. Nearly eight in 10 small business owners say minimizing COVID-19 deaths is more important than reopening the economy. “However,” Papadimitiou notes, “most small-business owners do not think the government should implement more restrictions to fight the pandemic.”

How Is WalletHub Weathering the Storm?
“WalletHub was born as the country was emerging from the Great Recession, and those tough times really left a lasting impression on me,” Papadimitriou shares. “As a result, I’ve managed the company’s financials rather conservatively since then, at least without the leverage common among our competitors. So, we’re actually in a pretty good position.” And he adds, “We are continuing to hire, as a matter of fact.”


  • Owners worry about failure: 35% of small-business owners say their business can only survive for less than three months in current conditions.
  • Health comes before money: 79% of small-business owners think minimizing COVID-19 deaths is more important than re-opening the economy.
  • Business owners don’t want more restrictions: 60% of small-business owners think restrictions placed in response to COVID-19 should stay the same or be relaxed.
  • Many business owners feel neglected: 68% of small-business owners think the government is not doing enough to help small business right now.

Source: WalletHub’s Coronavirus Small Business Survey

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