October 15, 2022

Small Businesses Face Post-COVID Headwinds and Partly Solve for Those Challenges Using Digital Tools

By Shannen Patel

New research from Meta and Goldman Sachs shows that small businesses continue to face headwinds post-COVID and that digital tools continue to act as a “digital safety net” for them. The biggest headwind is unquestionably the state of the economy, including higher inflation. Meta, in their 2022 Global State of Small Business research that surveyed more than 22,000 small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders across 30 countries and territories, reports that amid all the challenges they face, SMBs continue to innovate and adapt. Digital tools (i.e. software, platforms, apps, etc.) are a critical part of that: 51% of SMBs use digital tools to communicate with customers, 43% use them to advertise, and 36% use them to sell goods and services. (The full report is available here.)

Investment bank and financial services leader Goldman Sachs had a different focus in their 10,000 Small Businesses Fellows Report: Helping SMBs address the challenges associated with finding and hiring qualified talent, which besides access to capital is seemingly always a problem for them. Goldman Sachs reported that 97% of SMB owners need help hiring for open positions, with 50% reporting the most common obstacle is finding applicants with the right skills. Moreover, the pandemic also complicated things, with 73% of SMB owners saying it was difficult to compete with larger companies regarding pay and other benefits during this period. While the focus of the 10,000 Small Businesses report was not digital tools specifically, we know through our own research (see, for example, Digitally Driven, p. 30) that one of the ways SMBs use digital tools is for hiring and training employees. 

Shannen Patel is Managing Editor of the Data Catalyst Institute.

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