Small businesses already face several challenges daily. Then COVID-19 suddenly appeared as a wrecking ball. Forced to close their doors or face the limitations imposed by the pandemic, small business owners had to use their creativity to stay in the game.

According to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, the sectors most affected by the 2020 restrictions were accommodation/food (65 percent), arts and entertainment (61 percent), education (53 percent), and retail in general (24 percent). The pandemic restrictions are gradually decreasing but are expected to challenge small businesses throughout 2021. When adjusting your company to the “new normal,” there are several ways to stay prepared during 2021 and beyond.

Get Small Business Insurance

Companies in all sectors and all sizes need insurance to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances and protect themselves from possible lawsuits or fees. This is even more necessary for small businesses, which may not withstand the financial impact of a legal process.

There are several coverages to consider:

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL)– It’s essential for cases where your business caused bodily injury, material damage to third parties, or personal injuries. For example, claims that one of your workers damaged a client’s property or a slander or defamation charge directed at your advertising.
  • Professional Liability Insurance– Errors can happen in any business. This insurance protects your company in cases of errors or omissions that didn’t cause personal injury or property damage to someone but still have financial impacts—for example, a miscalculation in an engineering project or a poor quality renovation service.
  • Workers’ Compensation– Mandatory by law in most states, workers’ comp helps your company deal with an employee’s medical bills and lost wages in the event of work-related injuries.

Insurance costs for small businesses can vary based on factors like company size and the industry. You should be prepared for these costs and include them in your initial budget.


2020 taught companies of all sizes the importance of being connected. From businesses conducted over e-mail to meetings by Zoom, everyone has had to use the internet and social media in one way or another. Take this opportunity to stay connected with others in the same industry. After all, business owners should have someone to call for advice in challenging situations.

By cultivating a good network of contacts, you can extract critical knowledge and practices from fellow entrepreneurs to face a crisis. Thanks to your contacts, you can exchange tips on services and suppliers and, with any luck, even get competitive prices.

Change Hours

Another lesson from 2020 was that conventional working hours no longer make sense. This was especially noticeable in the home office. Take the opportunity to evaluate alternative working hours for your company.

For example, if you aren’t located in the city, it doesn’t make sense to close at 5 p.m. (when potential customers leave their jobs). Remember that the internet is your main competitor, and it’s open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consumers don’t have to leave work early to shop at online stores.

Adopt working/operating hours that are convenient for your customers. For example, You can close in the morning to stay open until late at night. Or close for a day or two during the week to be able to open on weekends. This practice can bring in new customers who didn’t have access to your business during traditional hours and possible savings on payroll costs.

Use Social Media to Advertise

Advertising is essential, and you shouldn’t overlook it, but conventional marketing is no longer enough. A good opportunity in difficult times is to adopt low-budget marketing practices. One of the most practical tools available is social media.

Without a strong presence on social networks today, it is as if you didn’t exist. Create profiles on the most important platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and get closer to your potential customers, responding to their questions, suggestions, and criticisms more quickly and directly.

Each social network has its own advantages that you will discover with practice, such as the possibility of creating contests and live broadcasts. Facebook, for example, offers advertising tools with similar audience segmentation. It finds other users who match your current customers’ profiles to view your ads.

Survival Depends on Adapting

According to recent data, the importance of small businesses to the U.S. economy is unquestionable. In 2019, just before the pandemic, businesses with less than 500 employees were responsible for two-thirds of new jobs in the country and generated 44 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The rapid changes required in times of crisis created a scenario in which small business owners had to adapt to continue to survive. The good news is that many stayed on the market and remained optimistic. Seventy-five percent of small business owners surveyed last year agree that if a crisis like COVID-19 happens again, they would be better prepared to deal with it. 

Staying connected, rethinking your business hours, the way you advertise, and appropriate insurance coverage are simple and essential ways to ensure your survival in this new scenario.