In 2020, non-essential businesses across the U.S. were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the COVID-19 vaccine is accelerating the reopening process, many businesses still face restrictions. Sadly, it’s already too late for at least 100,000 businesses that closed permanently during the pandemic, despite government stimulus measures that aimed at keeping businesses afloat.
As a result of the past year’s hardships, around 7.5 million small business owners say they regret starting a business, according to a nationally representative survey conducted by WalletHub. The survey took a look at how the pandemic has affected business owners’ livelihoods and opinions on various topics.
Below are some more highlights from WalletHub’s survey, along with additional insight from a panel of experts.
- Recovery will be a long process: 6 million small business owners say it will take more than a year for their business to return to pre-COVID levels.
- Business owners prioritize public health: 56% of small business owners think that minimizing COVID-19 deaths is more important than re-opening the economy, a 29% decrease from last year.
- 2020 was the hardest year ever: Two thirds of small business owners say that 2020 was their most difficult year in business.
Ask the Experts
The pandemic has affected small business owners in ways that very few could have anticipated. To provide more insight, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to see their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What steps can small business owners take to get their business back to pre-COVID levels?
- Why do you think there was a 29% decrease in small business owners who say that minimizing COVID-19 deaths is more important than re-opening the economy?
- What made certain small business owners more affected than others during the pandemic?
Ask the Experts
This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of nearly 500 small business owners.
After all responses were collected, we normalized the data by age, gender and income so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
Full Details Overall
|Did 2020 make you regret starting a business?|
|When do you expect your business to return to pre-COVID levels?|
|It already has||37%|
|More than 12 months||20%|
|In the next 3 months||14%|
|Has the federal government done enough to help small businesses?|
|Did the federal government do too much to help big businesses?|
|Was 2020 your most difficult year in business?|
|What has been more stressful for you during the pandemic: work issues or issues at home?|
|Issues at home||33%|
|Do you think the federal government is a friend to small businesses?|
|Which is more important to you?|
|Minimizing COVID-19 deaths||66%|
|Re-opening the economy||34%|
|How do you rate the current COVID-19 restrictions?|
|Need to relax||33%|
|What is holding your business back the most right now?|
|Consumer sentiment about COVID||59%|
|Government COVID restrictions||41%|
Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.