One-in-four small business owners may not make it through the next six months

by | Dec 18, 2020


Many small businesses owners are scared.

In a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), one-in-four (25 percent) small business owners reported they will have to close their doors in the next six months if the current economic conditions don’t improve, up five percent from November. Although the numbers were not broken down by individual states, Florida’s small businesses seem to be faring a little better, with between 15 and 20 percent in danger of closing within six months, according to Bill Herrle, NFIB’s state executive director for Florida.

Nationally, another 22 percent of owners anticipate they will be able to operate no longer than seven to 12 months under current economic conditions.

The NFIB survey focused on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic and imposed shutdowns have had on small businesses.

Herrle said, “Florida has threaded the needle about as well as you can.” But he stressed restaurants and hospitality are a “rich vein” for small independent businesses in Florida and they’ve been really hurt.

“The next few months might prove to be the most difficult time for small businesses since the initial shutdown last spring,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center.

Herrle said, “It’s always darkest before the dawn. Between now and the success of any vaccine is going to be the hardest time of all for small businesses affected by COVID.”

Key findings from the survey include:

The majority of Paycheck Protection Program borrowers (91 percent) have spent their entire PPP loan. If eligible, 45 percent of small business owners would apply or re-apply for a second PPP loan.

After using the PPP loan, 22 percent of borrowers have or anticipate having to lay off employees in the next six months, a slight increase from 19 percent a month ago. About half (53 percent) of borrowers anticipate needed additional financial support over the next 12 months.

Nineteen percent of small employers reported they have fewer employees than they did this time last year and 11 percent have significantly less.

Sales levels are still half or less than they were pre-crisis for one-in-five small businesses with another 29 percent at sales levels of 51 percent to 75 percent of pre-crisis. Over one-third are back or nearly back to where they were with sales between 76 percent and 100 percent of pre-crisis levels with another 14 percent exceeding pre-crisis sales levels.

As more of the general population is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, 36 percent of small business employers will encourage their workers to get vaccinated.

Over half (56 percent) of small business owners plan to get vaccinated.

This is NFIB’s 14th Small Business COVID-19 survey since March 2020 assessing the health crisis impact on small business operations, economic conditions, and utilization of the targeted small business loan programs.

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