This November 28 may be the most important Small Business Saturday since the occasion was founded by American Express in 2010.
As early as July, nearly half (43 percent) of small businesses had closed at least temporarily, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Research also suggests that 30 percent of small businesses expect to exhaust their cash on hand before year’s end. Eighty-eight percent have already spent the funds allocated to them by the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program loan.
While hopes will be buoyed for some by recent positive developments in the search for a vaccine, uncertainty and hard times no doubt still lie ahead. That’s why Webroot encourages advocates and partners to shop small this November 28. For our customers, we aim to be a source of support and sound consultation as we recover together.
Challenges and opportunities for small businesses and MSPs
Many of the small businesses affected by COVID-19 are among Webroot’s clientele. Many more, especially managed service providers, count small businesses as their most important customers. We’ve heard from many who are suffering from lost contracts following office closures, fewer onsite projects, disappearing budgets for business development projects and a general slowdown of new business.
Others are witnessing a shift in the work they do and the services most in-demand. For some, COVID-related challenges have presented opportunities to step up and offer services made necessary by new realities. Unsurprisingly, the already trending adoption of cloud infrastructure has quickened its pace in the age of remote work.
“We’ve had to speed up migrating some clients on-premise file servers to online cloud solutions,” according to Russell Harris, a support engineer and project manager at Maya Solutions Ltd., a UK-based MSP specializing in Apple product support
For David Yates, president of Geeks R Us, a West Coast provider of various technical services, the shift to remote work was the push some of his customers needed to leave physical servers behind.
“A few clients who were reluctant to move to the cloud have now embraced it. This was the impetus that they needed to finally migrate away from on-premise servers,” he said.
Many MSPs have also taken it upon themselves to guide their clients through the transition to remote work, especially in terms of security.
“We’ve had to shift to more cloud, VPN and helping our clients work remotely,” says Nathan Hardester, a telecoms administrator with Whidbey Tech Solutions, a Washington-based MSP.
Cybersecurity education is another opportunity for MSPs looking to help small business clients up their cyber resilience. We know that many office workers are overly confident in their ability to detect a phishing attack, so MSPs should position themselves as educators. Already, in the COVID-era, some are finding themselves do exactly that.
Asked what’s changed at Maya Solutions since the pandemic, Harris responds “needing to provide additional training on online safety due to many working from home on their own devices.”
Making it through together
Many MSPs—often small businesses themselves—rely on their small business clients run for their success. And on this Small Business Saturday, small businesses need us all more than ever. Despite the challenges, there are opportunities for MSPs to step up and guide their clients through the changing way we work.