How Small Business Owners Are Conquering Their New Reality

Entrepreneurs are a special breed, but 2020 has challenged them in ways no one could have imagined.

From supply chain interruptions to the sudden halt of foot traffic in retail stores, restaurants, and hotels, business owners have been forced to rethink their business models and discover new ways of engaging with customers, suppliers, and employees.

Despite these challenges, a new survey from Chase Ink reveals that many small business owners have successfully pivoted their business models to serve current customers and attract new ones. The survey of more than 1,000 small business owners, covering a wide range of industries, paints a picture of entrepreneurs finding new, creative ways to both market and sell their products and services, while maintaining and even growing their companies through turbulent times. 

E-commerce has been a driving force for this growth. In fact, 19 percent of the Chase Ink survey respondents reported they began selling products online or shipping to customers for the first time in 2020, and 35 percent said the pandemic would have forced their business to close if it weren’t for e-commerce.

So, what does the increasing reliance on e-commerce mean for small business owner costs? 27 percent reported that the majority of their business expense increases since last year were related to shipping to customers, whereas 24 percent reported that the majority of their spending expense increases were from e-commerce platforms.

Beyond e-commerce, digital advertising has become an increasingly essential component for small business owner marketing strategies. 48 percent of survey respondents said that social media has become a more important part of their business this year, with 26 percent reporting that the majority of their spending expense increases since last year stemmed from social media advertising. Many small business owners are investing in search engine advertising as well, with nearly one quarter (23 percent) reporting that this activity drove the majority of their spending expense increases.

While small businesses have always been the heart and soul of the U.S. economy, this year has made that more apparent than ever. Given this group’s resiliency and ingenuity, they’ve found new ways to market to and sell to customers to not only keep their businesses up and running but in many cases, thriving. For this reason, Chase recently expanded Pay Yourself BackSM to Ink Business Plus and Ink Business Preferred cardmembers to give small business owners an opportunity to maximize their rewards across the categories that have become a priority in today’s business environment, including shipping and advertising.

Looking ahead, the small business community has no plans to return to the status quo. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of small business owners agree that the changes they’ve made to their business this year will continue into 2021. Given this group’s ability to adapt, stay positive, and persevere, the future looks bright.

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