Three-fourths of small business owners feel they have a responsibility to their customers during this pandemic, and two-thirds feel a responsibility to their communities at large.
In fact, small business owners believe that the most helpful policy intervention that the government could pass would be direct cash payments to individuals – above and beyond programs designed specifically for small businesses (e.g. payroll support, etc.). Many are also proactively looking to support customers themselves, such as Tony & Alba’s Pizza who is offering a free pizza, delivered free of charge once a week, to all customers over the age of 70.
A majority (60%) of small business owners believe their community cares about their business in return, and the evidence supports that. The most recent Harris COVID-19 Society Poll found that 26% of consumers have purchased something from a small business in the past week as a sign of support, and 5% had proactively called a congressperson to advocate for small businesses in their community.
Half of all small businesses say that at least one other small business depends on them, so keeping small businesses solvent in the coming weeks will help prevent an even more destructive ‘domino’ effect within communities.
In this spirit, we are seeing businesses across the nation helping each other out – from Asheville, NC where a marketing and public relations agency launched #AshevilleStrong to provide an online marketplace through which consumers can purchase gift cards to small businesses in the community, to Seattle where a Facebook group of business owners was developed to help each other innovate and brainstorm ways to weather this storm.
In The Harris Poll’s research, many small business owners reported “people supporting each other,” “being kind to one another,” and “coming together” were some of the more hopeful aspects of the pandemic.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll from March 23-24, 2020 among 310 U.S. small business owners ages 18 and older. Small business owners are defined as owners/co-owners or franchisee/franchise owners of a company in the U.S. with fewer than 100 employees. Results align with the population of small businesses on company size. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.