Going digital was crucial to the survival of most SMBs during the pandemic

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Going digital helped 71 percent of growing small and medium businesses (SMBs) survive the pandemic, according to new research from Salesforce.

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To compile the fifth edition of its “Small and Medium Business Trends” report, the CRM giant conducted The Harris Poll survey of 2,500 SMB owners and leaders across North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The report’s results highlight the ways in which SMBs have found success in the digital world.

According to Salesforce, the most successful SMBs are those who have taken action to earn employee trust. Of the SMBs surveyed, 50 percent of those with rising revenues offered flexible work arrangements to their employees during the pandemic, compared to 38 percent of their declining peers.

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Building trust with customers is also important as a growing 75 percent of SMBs say their customers expect online transactions. As a result, 72 percent of them have an e-commerce presence, including more than a third (35%) who added it within the past year. Plus, a growing 95 percent of SMBs are taking action to secure company data and protect customer information from cyberattacks.

Adopting a digital-first world

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Many small businesses were unprepared for the pandemic and its economic impact and were forced to digitize as a result. They did this by ensuring that their employees had access to the online collaboration tools and video conferencing software they needed to do their jobs.

While 71 percent of SMBs say they survived the pandemic through digitization, 66 percent said their businesses would not have been able to survive using technology a decade ago. Additionally, 72 percent of SMBs have increased their company’s online presence in the past year, while 42 percent have accelerated their technology investments in the past year (compared to 33% in August 2020).

While the pandemic will eventually end, 75 percent of SMBs believe that changes in their business operations in the past year will bring long-term benefits to their businesses. When it comes to the future of work, 43 percent of employees plan to split their time between personal and remote work by adopting a hybrid work ethic.

The pandemic has changed the nature of work globally, but thankfully, many SMBs quickly realized they had to go digital if they were to survive it.

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