2020 Health Crisis Survey
The 2020 Health Crisis has had an unprecedented impact on small businesses. In August 2020, ICIC surveyed over 600 small business program participants and alumni from across the country to better understand the consequences of the crisis. The survey, conducted online, asked small business owners how the crisis affected their business, access to capital, family, community, and outlook for the future.
As expected, the crisis had a largely negative impact on businesses. Seventy-two percent of businesses surveyed reported that they had lost revenue due to the crisis and just over 26 percent had to close temporarily because of a public health order or for another reason. In addition, more than half of businesses reported a decrease in profits and customers because of the crisis. A majority of business owners also felt that their businesses were weaker at the time of the survey than at the beginning of the year.
Most businesses had to borrow money or finance their business. Many sought support through government programs since the start of the crisis. Just under 80 percent of owners reported that they sought funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Of those who applied for PPP funding, 91 percent received support.
Overall, 70 percent of owners reported negative impacts to their business because of the crisis. Compared to other national surveys, our survey respondents reported slightly less negative impacts to their business. Although results from our survey cannot be used to determine exactly why our program participants and alumni reported less negative impacts to their business, this may be due to the importance of technical assistance support from organizations such as ICIC for building small business resiliency. Small business technical assistance is wide-ranging and includes supports such as strategic planning, financial management, capital access, marketing, and leadership training. As a result of receiving technical assistance, owners are more likely able to build resiliency by planning effectively for sudden economic downturns such as the current crisis.
Because of the Health Crisis, Has Your Business…
Source: Responses to ICIC 2020 Health Crisis Survey question: “Because of the Health Crisis, has your business…”
Business Impact Due to Health Crisis
Source: Responses to ICIC 2020 Health Crisis Survey question: “What impact has the 2020 Health Crisis had on your business?” National business data are from the U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey, conducted August 23-29, 2020.
of businesses had to borrow money or finance their business since the start of the crisis.
of businesses lost revenue due to the crisis.
of businesses expected that it would take more than 6 months for their business environment to return to normal.
of businesses planned to retain employees on payroll despite lack of work or reduced work.
 Seventy-seven percent of business owners surveyed in the U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey reported negative impacts to their business because of the crisis. Responses to that survey were collected during the week of August 23-29, 2020.