New Report Shows Rocky Road to Recovery for Small Businesses

By Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer

The pandemic is both a health crisis and an economic one that has hit small businesses particularly hard. Many have closed permanently. Many that remain open face huge challenges to stay afloat, pay their employees and serve their communities. As the year draws to a close there is still uncertainty all around, but there are also signs of light ahead.

Starting in July, Facebook has published the results of a monthly global survey of small businesses produced in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank. These reports were planned before the pandemic, when we hoped they would paint a brighter picture. Instead, they have shined a light on some of the starkest challenges facing more than 150,000 small and medium businesses around the world, and indicated where help is most needed.

Today we are publishing the sixth Global State of Small Business Report, and the last of 2020. It shows that business conditions have improved since the first survey, but not everywhere, and not for all small businesses. A substantial number remain closed and a majority continue to report reduced sales and employment, even as the economy as a whole shows signs of improvement.

While the pandemic has affected everyone, it hasn’t affected everyone equally. Women all over the world have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus — they are more likely to have caregiving responsibilities, more likely to lose their jobs or have their pay cut, and more likely to feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. Many female business leaders have been juggling the twin burdens of keeping their businesses afloat and taking on more responsibilities at home — and today’s report shows the situation hasn’t improved over the course of the pandemic.

Still, business owners and managers are resilient. The survey shows that despite everything, more than half remain optimistic about the future of their business. Many have acted creatively to find new ways to reach customers, with more than 1 in 4 reporting that they have increased or greatly increased their proportion of sales they have made digitally during the course of the pandemic.

Some of the report’s key findings are:

State of small business report infographic

Facebook is in the business of small business. More than 200 million businesses use our apps every month to create virtual storefronts and reach customers — with millions using our tools to help them make the transition online since the start of the pandemic. Whatever challenges they face in the uncertain months ahead, Facebook will continue to do all we can to help businesses survive and thrive online.

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