Small Businesses on the Bleeding Edge


The front line of the economic crisis runs right through Main Street. As one observer put it: “The pandemic has caused ten years of change in one month.”

Small and medium-sized businesses have been hit with devastating force.

A huge number of retail businesses and restaurants may permanently close. Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), said recently that “20%, even 30%, of small businesses could fail even in a good scenario.” Numbers like this are mind-numbing. Further, the stories of individual small businesses that are struggling or have already gone out of business are heartbreaking.

At the same time, many SMBs are drastically rethinking their operations and infrastructure, first to survive, then to succeed in the new re-ordered landscape.

For example, in my own neighborhood in San Francisco, many local restaurants converted from premises service to take-out only, within days of the start of the lock-down. Only a couple of weeks later, some of them are also selling uncooked food items. They’ve become small, specialized grocery stores. These small operations are “building the airplane as they’re flying it.”

Of course, not all such experiments will succeed. But the key point is there’s a lot of adaptation happening quickly, albeit under duress. A radically new landscape will emerge.

BuzzBoard is working to recognize and address the implications of the pandemic on the SMB world and our customers—enterprises and agencies that sell to SMBs. Although the world is still deep in “the fog of war,” we believe the “new normal” for SMBs will be defined by several key things. We’ll write about those in the next few blog posts.

In the meantime, our hearts go out to the SMB community that finds itself thrust onto the bleeding edge. We’re confident we’ll get through this together and will develop creative, constructive solutions.

Be safe and healthy!

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