Creativity, entrepreneurship and COVID-19

The health, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19 are like nothing else in living memory.

As people around the world start to come to terms with our new normal, we surveyed more than 1,200 entrepreneurs and SMBs to identify how the pandemic is impacting behavior and business performance within this community – and what this means for the future.

This is what they shared with us.

Almost half of SMBs were hit hard and fast

Around half (48%) of SMBs surveyed experienced a severe decline in demand or cannot operate at all as a result of the pandemic.

Only 12% have felt no impact from COVID-19, but 16% are actually experiencing increased demand.

B2C felt more pain than B2B

A higher proportion of B2C companies can't operate at all: 22% compared to 14% of B2B brands.

Women were more likely to run a B2C business than their male counterparts, and this is reflected in data that shows 31% of female-owned businesses are unable to operate compared to 18% of male-owned businesses.

Layoffs are rampant, but the majority have maintained headcount

While unemployment levels have risen significantly in recent weeks, in the past month 50% of SMBs have managed to maintain headcount, and 10% have even been hiring.

Many entrepreneurs are going it alone

38% of businesses surveyed are run by solo entrepreneurs.

As well as suffering more operationally, B2C companies are also more likely to be run by sole operators (43% compared to 31% of B2B businesses).

Out of chaos comes opportunity

Over half of entrepreneurs (56%) have pivoted their existing business model as a direct result of COVID-19. 

54% of those surveyed are also planning on starting a new business or side hustle during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What's driving this?

Adapting to demand

Almost half of SMBs and entrepreneurs (48%) are responding to consumer needs that are directly related to COVID-19.

Taking business online

66% of businesses that were not online before the outbreak are in the process of creating a website, and more than a quarter (27%) are looking at refreshing their existing website as a result of COVID-19. 

Of those businesses with plans to add ecommerce to their website, 46% have either started or are discussing it as a result of the outbreak.
39% of businesses have already started or are planning on increasing their social media output as a result of COVID-19. 

Another 41% of businesses are also exploring new ways to engage with customers through online content because of the pandemic.

Leadership, development and support

Over a third (34%) of business owners are taking online classes or courses to upskill during this time of disruption.

A similar number of business owners and entrepreneurs (33%) are not confident in their understanding of government support available as a result of COVID-19.

Most important qualities for leading through a downturn

The road back to normality


1,214 responses collected online via market research platform Corus in April 2020. Responses collected from North America (629), Australia (262), DACH region (178) and other markets (145).