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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: A Comprehensive Report On The Impact Of COVID-19 On Business

Better Business Bureau

While the lasting effects are unclear, the immediate economic impact of COVID-19 has been severe. Recovery still seems far off, especially as states grapple on when to reopen and how soon testing will be made widely available. 

In an effort to collect the latest insights and identify top challenges and opportunities, the Better Business Bureau conducted a pulse survey with businesses and customers across North America on the perceived impact of the pandemic, and how it’s changing consumer behavior. The findings of this report provide a snapshot of the current economic landscape, and illustrates the needs businesses have when it comes to responding and rebuilding from COVID-19. 

In late March, BBB asked Accredited Business owners what they assume would be the biggest challenges facing their business. Cash flow was at the top, followed by keeping up with customer demand and paying employees. Financial uncertainty is one of the biggest drivers of the perceived negative impact among businesses. More than half of business owners surveyed say they do not have enough cash or credit to last them past 60 days, should another unexpected crisis arise. Small and newer businesses are at high risk, especially among companies with 10 or less employees, and in business fewer than six years. 

This leads to many companies changing the way they do business – from eliminating expenditures, leveraging technology, or adopting a work-from-home practice for employees. 

While 36% of businesses say they will likely reduce staffing, 30% of business owners tell BBB they will have to change or adapt to a new business model. The need for financial relief is undeniable. But what many business owners are telling BBB is that marketing and communicating with customers also remains an essential need.