Survey: Half of owners say their firms can only survive two months

Tony Gagliardi NFIB

About half the members of a small business advocacy group — most of them small business owners — responding to a survey say their operations can survive no more than two months if the effects of the coronavirus outbreak persist.

“The situation caused by COVID-19 has caused serious pain to small business owners, and it will take time for the pain to stop,” said Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Gagliardi said he was hopeful, nonetheless. “Look back to the financial crisis, and one can see the proof that small business is the engine pulling the train to recovery and will do so again. The only thing small business owners are asking for are policy solutions that make it possible for Main Street to prosper once again.”

The NFIB surveyed a random sample of the 300,000 members of the group nationwide. A total of 1,172 usable responses were received from the March 30 email survey.

Fully 92 percent of those who responded to the survey said their businesses have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak — up from 76 percent responding to a survey 10 days earlier.

Among those who said they’d been affected, 80 percent reported slower sales and 31 percent reported supply chain disruptions.

About 72 percent of those who responded to the latest survey said they were “very concerned” about the potential effects of the outbreak on their businesses — up from 16 percent on March 10

Half said their businesses can survive no more than two months if current conditions continue. A third said their businesses could remain operational three to six months. About 13 percent said they could stay in business more than a year.

Almost all of those who responded to the survey said they’ve responded to the outbreak, including implementing additional cleaning procedures or flexible work arrangements. About half said they’ve scaled down or adjusted operations.

Almost two-thirds said they plan to apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program offered through federal relief measures.