NFIB Study: Coronavirus Impact on Missouri Small Businesses

Date: March 13, 2020

While Most Missouri Small Business Not Currently Impacted by Coronavirus, St. Robert Member Faces Difficulties

The NFIB Research Center’s new survey on the current impact of the coronavirus outbreak on small business found that while most small businesses are not currently impacted, owners are concerned about future disruptions if the outbreak continues to escalate.

The vast majority of small businesses (74%) are not currently impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. However, the coronavirus outbreak is negatively impacting about 23% of small business owners. Three percent are positively impacted. 

“As of today, most of our small business owner have not yet seen a significant impact from the coronavirus. However, we recognize that the situation is changing rapidly every day,” said Brad Jones, NFIB State Director in Missouri. “Our small business owners in Missouri are aware of not only the health impact to their employees but are monitoring the potential economic impact and damage this virus could have on their small business.”

In St. Robert, NFIB member Katrina Allen is already dealing with a disruption to her furniture business. At Lynch’s Furniture and Appliance, Katrina has noticed an impact on her supply chain. Several of her furniture manufacturers are not able to get raw materials like fabric and components from their China factories and she is seeing a 6-8 week delay getting furniture to her store.

“The results are loss of sales. Customer have already cancelled special orders because of the length of time to order is so long. I am already anticipating that will mean a loss of sales as my inventory dwindles down and I’m not able to re-stock my floor due to these delays,” said Allen.

Meanwhile, the legislative session in Jefferson City continues. The Senate is not going in next week, but the House will go in to finish the budget.

 

According to NFIB’s latest survey, of those small business owners not currently impacted, 43% anticipate their business being impacted if the coronavirus outbreak spreads to, or spreads more broadly in, their immediate area over the next three months. Twenty percent do not expect to be impacted if the outbreak spreads, and another 37% are not sure.

Of those businesses negatively impacted, 39% are experiencing supply chain disruptions, 42% slower sales, and 4% sick employees. The 4% of owners citing sick employees likely responded this way out of heightened concern and precautions with sick employees showing some signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, not necessarily because they have employees who have tested positive for the virus.

While most small business owners are not currently impacted, many are taking measurable steps to prepare their business from the coronavirus outbreak. Thirty percent of owners have stocked up on disinfectant and hand sanitizer for their business and 12% have talked with employees about sick leave or work from home policies. Three percent have modified their supply chain or changed their buyers or vendors. Just over half (52%) have not felt the immediate need to take any measurable steps. Additional comments included owners taking action by talking with employees about helpful prevention practices, such as frequent hand washing and ordering supplies and inventory ahead of schedule.

The level of concern among small business owners about the coronavirus impacting their business varies greatly in these initial weeks of the outbreak. About 44% of small business owners are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about its potential impact on their business (28% and 16% respectively). Another 37% are slightly concerned and 18%, not at all concerned.

Methodology

This survey was conducted with a random sample of NFIB’s membership database of about 300,000 small business owners. The survey was conducted by email between March 10-11, 2020. NFIB collected 300 usable responses, all small employers with 1-120 employees. 

The full survey is attached.

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