The financial fallout from COVID-19 is affecting the owners of small businesses in BC at a personal level, as well as their businesses.
A survey by Insights West of nearly six-hundred business people in the province found that an unprecedented level of permanent business closures is possible.
Nearly all small business owners asked – 93 percent – say they are worried about the negative financial impact of COVID 19 on their business. Sixty-five percent answered that they are ‘very worried.’
Thirty one percent of businesses are not sure they will survive the fallout of this crisis and be forced to shut down their business permanently.
The survey found the crisis has shut down 43 percent of small businesses temporarily, and 27 percent are still operating with some difficulty.
Twenty-three percent of businesses surveyed are continuing to operate while making some changes, while only eight percent say it’s business as usual.
Just thirty-two percent say they will definitely keep their business open and 28 percent say it will probably not result in them shutting down.
Seventy percent of business people are concerned about their ability to pay their personal rent or their mortgage. Of that number, 41 percent of business people answered that they are very concerned about being able to make home mortgage or rent payments.
When it comes to being able to pay household expenses, 73 percent express concern (42% ‘very concerned’ 31% ‘somewhat concerned’), and over one-half – 57 percent – are concerned about their ability to pay for household meals.
The Insights West survey found concern about meeting personal household expenses is higher among the operators of small businesses than the general population.
However, both small business owners and the rest of BC residents are concerned about their savings. Eighty percent of small business owners and 75 percent of residents report they are concerned about the negative impact on their savings and about the same number believe that impact will continue for a few years.
Among business people there are differing assessments about how long the crisis will last. Twenty-one percent think we will be back to normal within 60 days, another 21 percent feel it will be 90 days, and 20 percent expect it to take six months.
The survey results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from March 24, 2020 to March 31, 2020 among a sample of 580 small business owners in BC. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.