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Small businesses, battered by the pandemic, are flinging their doors back open: 85% were fully open in March 2021, a sizable uptick from the 57% who were open in February. 

That’s according to a survey of 550 small businesses from Kabbage, an American Express company. The businesses surveyed ranged from the smallest of small businesses, with less than 20 employees, to the largest, with 101 to 500 employees.

Kathryn Petralia, the cofounder of Kabbage, attributed the rise in reopenings to a few different factors. Increased vaccinations, the ability to hire staff, and lifted restrictions all contributed to the more robust reopening numbers.

Of the businesses which are fully open, 15% shifted to be completely online during the pandemic. This was particularly true for medium-sized businesses, with 21 to 100 employees; one in five of which shifted to online operations. 

Meanwhile, the smallest of small businesses were more likely to remain closed; they had the highest response rate of the 15% of businesses who are still shuttered.

Vaccinations played a big role in reopening, with a 241% increase in vaccinations for small business owners

Over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and that vaccination rate could be helping lift up small businesses.

Currently, 41% of respondents have received a COVID-19 vaccination — a 241% increase since the first report.

In-person sales also jumped to an average of 15% between February and March, according to the report; that’s over double the 7% volume between January and February. Interestingly, in-person sales jumped by 18% for vaccinated respondents, compared to those who had not yet received a vaccination.

Petralia told Insider that being vaccinated likely provides an increased sense of comfort, and small business owners are “saying they’re more comfortable talking to customers, and engaging with customers, and extending their hours, and hiring staff as more and more people are vaccinated.”

Still, there hasn’t been full recovery just yet

Small businesses haven’t fully bounced back yet. Some are also likely gone forever; as Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported, an extra 200,000 businesses in the US closed in 2020, although small businesses weren’t hit as hard as expected.

One issue currently hindering small businesses and recovery, according to Petralia: The supply chain. 

“There’s been a huge impact to everything you can imagine, whether it’s fish for your tapas restaurant or whether it’s parts for the tools that you manufacture,” she said.

There’s currently all sorts of shortages in the US, from …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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85% of small businesses were fully open in March, report finds

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