Disaster Preparedness Economy

New Florida COVID-19 survey reveals how small businesses have fared and how they try to fight back

The majority of small businesses in Florida have been greatly negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That was one of the key findings of a new survey and report on the state’s small businesses conducted by the Florida Chamber Foundation, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, and the University of West Florida Haas Center.

As part of the report, The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic of Florida’s Small Businesses, more than 4,800 small business owners or managers completed the Small Business COVID Impact Survey, covering 95 percent of Florida’s counties and representing all industry sectors.

The findings are important because of the critical role small businesses play in the state’s economy. About 60% of net new job gains in Florida since 2012 have come from small businesses with less than 100 employees, Small businesses contribute 40% of the state’s GDP.

Some of the findings:

  • A staggering 60.8% revealed they are extremely concerned about the economy and 45.4 percent expressing their concern about their ability to operate in the future.
  • Just 2.8% of small businesses indicated that the pandemic had no impact on their business.
  • Small businesses responded to the COVID crisis in a number of ways: 46.5% adjusted their business models 41.5% adjusted their business hours; 39.5% struggled with supply chain disruptions; and half of respondents either had to establish a new delivery method or enhanced an existing second mode of delivery.
  • More than half of businesses – 52.6% – either voluntarily closed or were forced to close their doors, with more than 30 percent revealing their operations were still suspended during the time of the survey. About 40% reported they closed for good because of COVID-19.
  • Just over 85% of business leaders surveyed indicated they had lost revenue.
  • Of the businesses surveyed, 13% had furloughed or laid off employees and 18% reduced employee hours.
  • A majority of businesses have taken advantage of relief programs and received PPP loans, but these businesses say additional support is still needed in order to remain operating.

To highlight the growth and ongoing role small businesses play in our economic development, the Florida Chamber Foundation has added new data to track the growth of businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Visit TheFloridaScorecard.org and click on the Innovation & Economic Development icon at the top.

To view the full report, visit www.FLChamber.com/COVIDImpact.

To read the stories of some of the small business owners who participated in the survey, visit http://floridasbdc.org/covidstories.


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