Business owners are feeling more optimistic about the future of their companies, according to a survey of 236 businesses and nonprofits newly released by the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.
“By nature, entrepreneurs and small business owners are problem solvers — they rise to a challenge — and 2020 certainly doled out more than its fair share,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and founder of KCSourceLink, which helped conduct the survey with a cross-section of civic partners. “We see that passion, perseverance and tenacity in these survey results as well as in the number of people who are looking to start businesses during this pandemic.”
In addition to the Chamber and KCSourceLink, the survey was organized by the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Black Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, the Mid-America LGBT Chamber, and Visit KC.
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed reported being “very confident” their business will fully recover from the pandemic and related economic downturn; 31 percent were “somewhat confident;” four percent were “not very confident;” and one percent said they were “not at all confident.”
“These business owners need our support now and in the future so they can continue to solve problems, bridge the wealth gap, fuel our local economy and build their own resiliency,” said Meyers.
Since March 2020, 20 percent of survey respondents said they’ve seen revenues decrease more than 50 percent; 37.83 percent reported a revenue decrease of 50 percent or less; while 33.48 percent saw their revenues stay the same or increase.
A total of 31.74 percent say they’ve laid off employees.
Biggest concerns going forward? The largest response — 29.13 percent — said they were concerned about losing sales.
A majority of those responding said the pandemic has had some positive effect in the way they do business, including development of new e-commerce options and increases in online sales. Others noted that pivoting their business as a result of the pandemic has forced them to “think outside the box more” or has accelerated their future business direction.
Responses were mixed regarding business travel once a vaccine is readily available. A total of 47.3 percent said the impact would be small, with some amount of reduced travel; 27.49 percent predicted no impact, though they weren’t traveling yet; while 20.47 percent said there would be a large impact on their business travel, expecting their role to no longer require/allow as much travel in the long term.
On the subject of vaccines, 26 percent of those responding said they planned to require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace.