BOSTON, March 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Alignable's Weekly Pulse Poll of 17,500 small business owners late last week has revealed that 37% are struggling to stay open, operating with less than a month of cash reserves.
The weekly poll, conducted by Alignable's Small Business Research Center, also found that another 30% are not that far behind, claiming reserves of just one to three months.
And only 33% of small business owners say they have the financial savings to survive a prolonged, Coronavirus-driven shutdown lasting beyond three months.
Industries suffering the most from these Coronavirus hardships include: travel, event planning, and retail businesses. A second Alignable poll of 52,000 small business owners found 56% of respondents from these major categories reported a significant, negative impact from the virus threat.
Federal Help Alone Won't Fix This Urgent Need
Some retailers, event planners, and travel agencies have already had to close temporarily. Those that remain open are pursuing several creative ways to bring in revenue and to keep their employees on their payroll. However, the federal bailout might not come fast enough to keep their lights on.
"The answer to this problem has to be more than the federal government offering low interest loans to business owners," said Alignable's Co-Founder and CEO Eric Groves. "When it comes right down to it, why should they have to borrow money to solve a problem not of their making?"
Venkat Krishnamurthy, Alignable's President and Co-Founder added, "Clearly, we cannot solely depend on the Federal Government to solve this problem in time -- or on its own. So, we here at Alignable are proposing a three-pronged approach to help sustain the small businesses most in need of assistance."
3 Ways To Save Local Business Communities
First, Alignable is encouraging members of the public to continue purchasing from their hometown businesses. We have adapted the popular #ShopLocal program for these challenging times, creating another movement: #ShopLocalOnline.
Though many people are staying at home and not frequenting stores or restaurants, that doesn't mean they can't still shop online or call nearby food establishments to arrange deliveries or curbside pickups.
As part of #ShopLocalOnline, we're also urging people looking for any products or services to first search Alignable's network for local online businesses before ordering from huge national retailers. This way, they can keep the money close to home, thereby bolstering their now-fragile communities.
Second, Alignable encourages community members to make several pre-purchases of services with local salons, establishments that offer massages, gyms and more, either through gift certificates or participation in local business fundraising opportunities, such as Indiegogo's Local Relief Program.
Tell Congress How You Feel
The third part of Alignable's program will call on federal officials to recognize that they bear more responsibility for this situation than our local business owners. Any program they put forth to inject capital into the small business community should not come with an additional burden placed on these business owners in the form of repayment with interest.
Alignable strongly encourages everyone to write or call their congressional representatives and let them know that loans alone won't suffice.
We believe this three-pronged approach stands the best chance of helping many small businesses that are running out of cash and might not be able to hold on much longer.
As the largest referral network for small businesses in North America with 4.5 million+ members, Alignable's top mission is to foster the growth of small businesses and we will continue to create additional programs to help our customers through this very difficult time.
Our Survey Methodology
The two Alignable surveys were conducted via email with a random sample of Alignable's membership database of more than 4.5 million small business owners. The cash flow survey was conducted from March 18-20, 2020 and collected 17,500 responses. The second poll on industries most impacted by the Coronavirus ran from March 12-19, 2020 and collected 52,000 responses. All respondents were small business owners with 1-50 employees.