The SMB Revolution

September 2020

Team
  • There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on businesses all over the world — especially small and medium businesses (SMBs).

  • But how have SMBs reacted in order to survive in today’s competitive landscape, and how have business priorities changed as a result?

  • We’ve sought to answer these questions in a survey of 100 small business owners across the UK and US.

  • Section 1

    Skills

  • Section 2

    Growth

  • Section 3

    Investment

  • Section 4

    Automation

Section 1

Learning new tricks

  • A 3rd of small business owners taught themselves new skills during Covid-19.

  • Small business owners in the media industry were the most likely to train for new skills (60%), followed by those in the travel industry (50%).

60%

Media

50%

Travel

  • The financial pressure caused by Covid-19 has meant that SMBs have had to cut non-critical costs. This has driven many business owners to learn how to do more things themselves, rather than paying a lot for professional help. The skills that have been the most popular include creating online ads, managing websites, designing logos, and writing web copy.

  • Accomplishing the aforementioned tasks doesn't have to be a time-consuming or a daunting process. One just has to pick the right tools that are easy to use. Logos can be generated, templates can be built, and even web copy can be drafted automatically – without the need for expert help.

Section 2

Unlocking growth potential

  • Nearly three quarters (66%) of small business owners believe the ability to sell online is the key to business growth.

  • More than half of them also stated that it's important to have the ability to sell globally.

66%

Selling online is key to business growth

  • Global lockdown measures meant that millions of people were forced to stay at home. With this in mind, consumers had to quickly switch to purchasing goods online – a trend that is here to stay.

  • If SMBs want to succeed in the 'new normal,' they need to be able to provide seamless digital purchasing experiences to a global customer base.

Section 3

Invest in digital

  • More than half of small business owners have made focused digital investments in their companies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • SMBs also looked to improve their marketing and advertising efforts during this time, with 1 in 5 (20%) launching new marketing campaigns and promotions, and 15% stating they had increased their online advertising spend.

  • Key priorities for investment:

  • ・Improving the online store (33%)

  • ・Improving the website (28%)

28%

Improving the online store

33%

Improving the website

  • SMBs clearly recognised the importance of having a digital presence throughout the pandemic.

  • However, despite the fact that we’re slowly easing back into a more predictable routine, the rapid migration to digital channels driven by Covid-19 will continue for years to come.

  • Businesses must, therefore, use this time to improve their digital presence if they want to survive in today’s competitive landscape.

Section 4

Automation is the future

  • 33% of small businesses already use AI-powered tools to support their marketing.

  • 51% would adopt AI tools to save time on marketing and business tasks.

  • 57% are keen to understand in which ways AI could help their companies grow.

51%

AI tools could save time

57%

AI could help with growth

  • Companies are increasingly looking for new ways to improve their business, especially in today’s volatile landscape.

  • Many SMBs have turned to AI-powered tools to support their marketing and are already starting to reap the benefits. They are starting to understand their customer behavior better, they're generating copy instantly, and they're making their small business websites more effective.

  • However, the majority of small business owners still don't understand that the technology is already within their reach.

  • With the easy-to-use AI tools that are already available online and are free to use, small business owners can draft copy, generate blog article ideas, or even design a new logo – all by themselves.