There are thousands of diverse small businesses across Canada. Many of them are our local shops, spas, restaurants, car dealerships and so much more that have a huge impact on our economy and employ millions. CDW recently conducted a survey that looked at the pandemic’s impact on small businesses and not surprisingly, found that many faced a variety of challenges, including nearly two thirds (61 percent) of respondents who struggled with configuration.
These vital organizations are being forced to make a variety of changes and adjustments moving forward amid preparation and adaptation of the new reality in order to survive. Typically operating on tight budgets, small businesses faced challenges in adopting new technology amid the pandemic. According to our survey, small business owners’ leading barriers to IT investment in the early days of the pandemic were cost/cashflow (34 percent), not having the knowledge of what they needed (22 percent) and being unsure where to start (13 percent). A separate survey we conducted of IT professionals found that over half (57 percent) of small businesses stated their employees faced moderate challenges in their ability to continue their work. Looking ahead through the pandemic and into the future, the barriers remain consistent as over two thirds (35 percent) of respondents noted cost/cashflow as a concern while 14 percent are unsure of their needs when looking through the pandemic and into the future.
Despite the current and future worries, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of organizations will continue investing in endpoint solutions such as laptops and webcams, while nearly another quarter (23 percent) will continue investing in collaboration platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The latter tools will become especially important, as 31 percent of respondents will eventually have a mix of in-office and remote work. In the remote workplace of the future, keeping employees engaged will be crucial. Our survey found that just over half of respondents (51 percent) stated collaboration is becoming increasingly important in their current day-to-day.
Given the pressures this pandemic has placed on many small businesses across the country, supporting them can make a major difference in helping them stay afloat during this uncertain environment. Small businesses thrive from the support of regulars and word of mouth marketing. You can be assured that you are likely to have a positive experience when supporting a small business in your neighbourhood, whether it be a hair salon or your local tailor.
To thank small businesses for the jobs, services and resources they provide to Canadians every day, we are sharing the top five ways you can support local businesses during the pandemic.
Many small businesses that have closed their physical locations have turned to the digital world to keep their doors open to customers. In fact, our survey found that small businesses invested in a variety of IT tools amid the pandemic to ensure business continuity, with 31 percent noting they invested in new software to help their employees work remotely. Whether they have a website or Instagram page to shop from, going online to support a local small business is an easy and convenient way to do your part in helping them survive the pandemic.
Post on social media
You would be surprised to know how powerful your social media channels can be, even if you don’t have a lot of followers. Spread the word about your favourite local businesses with your friends and social circle to promote what they do. You never know who might be interested in their services and by sharing your positive experience you could be helping them gain new customers.
With lockdown regulations changing frequently, restaurant owners are struggling to keep their businesses open. To make up for the loss of customers, many are offering local delivery and pickup options. On a night you don’t feel like cooking, try ordering in from a local restaurant in your area. Don’t forget to leave them a nice review if you enjoy their food.
Take a Zoom class
Does your local gym, dance or yoga studio offer online classes? You can find out by going on their website or by giving them a call. Our survey found that 56 percent of small businesses invested in collaboration platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams during the pandemic, so you might be in luck if you’re looking to try something new. As many places have opted to train people online, this means you can now enjoy a class from the comfort of your living room. This is a great way to stay active during quarantine while also supporting a small business.
Buy a gift card
Gift cards are a great way to support small businesses as the organizations are provided with the immediate funds they need. Even if you can’t or don’t plan on using their services in the near future, you can still help them cover their expenses by purchasing gift cards, which will be extremely helpful to business owners that are short on cash flow.
As small businesses continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that we continue to support them in everything they do for Canadians and our economy. Let’s do our part to ensure their survival.
From dedicated account managers to solution specialists, CDW Canada is here to provide advice and IT support every step of the way for small businesses. Connect with one of our small business experts today by visiting cdw.ca/smallbusiness.