Nearly half of small businesses have donated to fight racial injustice, says survey

Pivoting and evolving is core to small business survival. In regular and trying times, small businesses and freelancers have to keep a keen eye on the market and move swiftly to keep customers, gain new ones, and keep up with the big players in the market. It seems the COVID-19 pandemic has not only accelerated this trend in 2020, but is pushing entrepreneurs to expect even more change going forward. So as you’re marketing your small business or avoiding the pitfalls of freelancing, you might have to consider one more thing: your pivot strategy.  

A new study by American Express found that 76% of small businesses pivoted as a result of the pandemic. But that’s not all: 73% expect to pivot again next year. Pivots vary, but “common examples include establishing or doubling down on online sales offerings, manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the first time, or creating a new product or service to cater to a new demand,” said the survey report.

To the survey organizers, this is no surprise. “As they always do, many of these businesses found new ways to survive and even some thrived…” said Clayton Ruebensaal, EVP of Global B2B Marketing at American Express.

Expecting to pivot

The biggest pivot is to online, with 77% of entrepreneurs saying they will be prioritizing ecommerce in the coming months, if they haven’t already. Another pivot is around diversity within the business. When asked about racial injustice, 73% of business owners said they were looking to add more diversity to their organizations. Further, 43% of business owners said they have made a public statement against racial injustice. Another 43% said they made a monetary contribution to a racial justice organization. 

These pivots and changes are not all altruistic. Consumers are demanding them, with 58% saying a company’s diversity is an important factor in their buying decision. The pandemic also drove other changes in consumer spending, such as only focusing on necessities. A majority (76%) of consumers anticipate this shift will continue at least over the next 6 months. 

Changing consumer expectations

Consumers are also changing how they spend their dollar, with 76% say it’s important that a business they buy from prioritizes employee wellbeing. It’s not just that they look at what’s open or their needs anymore, either. In response to the pandemic, consumers are more conscious of where their dollar goes. 74% of consumers wanting to support businesses that support their local community. Supporting businesses that support charity or prioritize sustainability are other important factors according to 68% and 64% of consumers, respectively.

Despite changes and excitement for the future, small business owners are worried. 86% of small business owners say that getting new customers is their top priority. But even with new customers, 46% say recovery will take up to three years. Only 21% think it will take a year or less.

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