In a national survey of more than 2400 businesses conducted and published by American City Business Journals finds that small and midsize businesses are seeing severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Impacts: Profits, Revenue, Cash, and Survivability
About 69% of respondents have seen revenue decline since the major onset of COVID-19 in March 2020. Of those seeing revenue decline, close to half see revenue falling by 50% or more year over year.
Additionally, 47% indicate that they have not been profitable and nearly one third report being cash flow negative over the first six months of the pandemic. About 70% of those losing money are losing more than $10,000 per month and 64% will run out of funds within the five months.
About 40% of respondents raised cash through loans or equity investments since March 1, with 91% of these businesses receiving loans from a federal stimulus program, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. These funds were predominantly used to cover payroll and operating expenses as opposed to funding investment or growth.
Change in Focus
With the stark financial impacts, most smaller businesses are changing their focus. Rather than looking forward one to three years, most SMBs are focuses on the current and next quarter. The shift from strategic to tactical is a direct response to the many unknowns of the pandemic, the near-term economy, business sector and market impacts, and government recovery and stimulus plans.
The near-term focus makes sense as we look to minimize costs, conserve cash, and ensure profits and our sustainability.
Where IT Services Can Help
Leveraging the right IT services can help you prepare and react to changes as you navigate the on-going unknowns. Here are 5 ideas to consider.
Audit your IT services for redundant services.
- Most businesses find they are paying for multiple services with redundant or overlapping capabilities.
- In many instances, we see businesses paying for third party services that are available for no additional cost in their productivity suites.
- Eliminating duplication will require some change of habits, but can dramatically reduce on-going IT costs.
Audit your communication tools.
- Are you paying for, and not using your available communication tools?
- Chat, video, and collaboration tools are standard in Microsoft 365 and G Suite, and can reduce or eliminate the need for expensive voice, teleconference, video conference, and online meeting solutions.
- A modest investment in training/education can help minimize communication costs.
Replace file servers with file services.
- Most businesses using Microsoft 365 or G Suite are storing files in these systems; these same businesses still run on-premise or hosted file servers.
- OneDrive, SharePoint, My Drive, and Shared Drives make it easy to save, share, and manage files. The OneDrive and Drive File Stream clients connect your end user applications to your cloud file services.
- Moving files from servers to cloud services eliminates the need for physical services, monthly MSP monitoring fees, backup/recovery costs, anti-virus costs, and more.
- If your staff need to access your on-premise services remotely, you may also be able to reduce or eliminate expenses related to VPN and other remote access services.
- While you will still want and need to protect cloud-resident files, your cost to store, share, and manage files will be lower.
Move applications and systems from on-premise to cloud
- You can lower you monthly operating costs and give you the ability to scale your resources and costs up and down as needed on a monthly basis.
- Make it easier to reduce your physical footprint for potential savings on rent and utilities.
- Scale your services up and down as needed to avoid unnecessary costs and capital expenditures.
Execute a service and data governance strategy
- Scale services up and down as needed to manage costs
- Ensure data is secure, managed, and protected
- Leverage data archiving services to minimize active account costs
To explore your options and best next moves, contact us for a complimentary Cloud Advisor session.