Small businesses in Lakeland – and all around the world – have been forced to sacrifice income, growth + stability to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. The topic of how this pandemic has affected local small businesses dominated nearly three hours of Monday’s City Commission meeting.
The Commission specifically discussed the preliminary results of a survey, conducted by BRIDGE Local + additional partners, which requested input from small business owners on how they have been impacted.
The collective data was gathered to aid in the recovery of local businesses + employees, so that the economy may be able to safely + intuitively begin stabilizing again. The final report yielded nearly 500 responses from Lakeland businesses.
Key survey findings
The status of businesses prior to COVID-19
• 74.6% were either ‘Strong and stable’ or ‘Growing like crazy’
The current impact on revenue for businesses
• 49.2% are generating ‘little to no revenue’
The likelihood of businesses closing permanently
“If the government shutdown ended in one week, what is the likelihood your business will have to close permanently?”
• 64.2% answered ‘It will not’ close permanently, while only 23.3% answered ‘It will not’ close permanently if the shutdown ended in two months.
“Confidence in keeping business open in the future if they are able to open in one week, vs 2 months drops 40% among the businesses who responded. 25% feel they will have to close permanently if they cannot open for two months.”
The businesses’ main concerns
• 48.6% of respondents marked ‘Access to economic assistance’ as a concern, making this issue the most significant
• 32.7% of the business owners stated that they have had to lay off employees, while 48.8% stated they will ‘definitely’ start or continue laying off employees if the shutdown were to end in two months.
“Confidence in keeping being able to keep current employees decreases by 35% if businesses cannot open for 2 months.”
Small businesses are made up of individuals who serve our community with their invaluable time + talents, and they’re in need of our support more than ever before. Let’s continue to do our part, no matter how much or little we can contribute, by supporting Lakeland’s one-of-a-kind small business community as we await the light at the end of the tunnel.