The Unique Ways in Which Small Business Owners Are Adapting to the Pandemic

Technology has been a saving grace for small business owners who have had to adjust to working from home and the lack of customers shopping in brick and mortar stores.

According to a new poll, thirty-one percent of small business owners said embracing new technology helped their business during COVID-19.

The survey of 1,000 small business owners revealed that for 25% of respondents, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital tools for their business.

While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses are far-reaching, results revealed that owners are cautiously optimistic, likely due in part to their adaptive spirit.

The survey found that after they’re able to resume business as usual, the average respondent believes the adverse effects of COVID-19 will be negligible within a year.

While 57% of respondents said COVID-19 had a “somewhat” or “very” negative impact on their small business, 7% reported a positive impact and 36% reported the pandemic had no impact on their business.

Commissioned by Melio and conducted by OnePoll, the survey revealed that many respondents were able to evolve during the pandemic by rethinking the way they operate their businesses.

Some respondents said they managed to successfully enable their employees to work from home (23%), digitized the way they get paid by customers (23%) and the way they pay vendors (19%).

In addition to that, 19% of respondents increased their online advertising/marketing efforts and 17% revamped their business’ website to keep their business on the up and up during the pandemic.

Specifically, 21% increased their digital presence through social media, while 22% started selling products online.

“As a wine director of a restaurant, this time has been great time to explore new systems and new ways to generate revenue,” said sommelier Rania Zayyat.

Not surprisingly, younger small business owners were more likely to have made many of these changes to keep their company afloat.

Of those aged 26–41, 56% of respondents found ways to enable employees to work from home, while just 17% of those over 57 did the same.

In the same vein, 39% of respondents aged 26–41 digitized the way they get paid by customers, compared to 12% of the older owners.

“If there’s one lesson to be learned from the survey, it’s that many small businesses have faith in their ability to ride out the storm,” said a spokesperson from Melio. “But that’s only true if they’ll learn to think on their feet, and are willing to explore out-of-the-box solutions and the adoption of new technologies.”


  1. Found ways to enable employees to work from home 23%
  2. Digitized the way they get paid by customers 23%
  3. Started selling products online 22%
  4. Increased their digital presence on social media 21%
  5. Digitized the way they pay vendors, etc. 19%
  6. Increased their advertising/marketing efforts 19%
  7. Revamped the website for their business 17%
  8. Offered new, digital products 14%
  9. Offered gift cards or discounts in the future 13%
  10. Started drop-off/curbside services 12%