Survey Results: The Impact of Lockdowns on Small Business Owners

Lockdowns have taken a toll on everyone, and business owners are no exception. We surveyed 1000 business owners and here's what we learned...


Lockdown has been hard for businesses of all kinds, especially small businesses that have lost customers or had to let employees go as a direct result of the pandemic.

That’s why at FreshBooks we commissioned a survey to look into the specific impact the pandemic has had on small business owners.

We surveyed 1,000 small business owners asking them about the impact of the pandemic, and how they’ve felt since lockdown has been lifted—the results were surprising!

60% of respondents felt some sort of impact of COVID-19 on their business. Over half (55%) admitted to losing regular customers during the pandemic, with customers taking their money to competitors as a result of lockdowns.

work life balance

Here are the top ten industries that have felt the biggest impact of the pandemic:

  1. Hospitality (88%)
  2. Tourism (80%)
  3. Travel (79%)
  4. Retail (72%)
  5. Beauty (60%)
  6. Fitness (59%)
  7. Manufacturing (50%)
  8. Agricultural (49%)
  9. Media (40%)
  10. PR and Marketing (39%)

When questioned about the amount of support and guidance the government provided, it’s no surprise 43% of respondents indicated that government help was lacking, with 53% feeling disappointed with how the government dealt with small business owners.

When we asked about the current state of their mental health, the results revealed 65% are suffering from one or more mental health problems. Furthermore, 31% are suffering from anxiety or depression and 30% are unable to sleep due to stress and worry.

Speaking to the results, Twyla Verhelst, Head of FreshBooks Accountant Channel says, “The pandemic has been tough on a lot of businesses, especially small business owners, so it’s no surprise many of them feel disappointed in the lack of support and guidance they’ve received from the government.”

“It’s harrowing to read how so many of them are suffering from mental health problems, either through stress and anxiety or just a lack of sleep.”

This stressful period has made a lot of business owners rethink certain areas of their business. For small business owners, business admin is often mission-critical to their job, making it no surprise 18% of their time is spent on business admin.

stand tall

When asked if it would make their life easier if they could cut down on admin tasks, 54% said yes—imagine a life without having to spend so much time on invoicing, tracking expenses, or filing your tax return?

The reasons given are as follows: 53% said it would allow them to focus on important tasks that are often left to the last minute, 46% said it would make their work/life balance better, and 45% said it would give them more time to do their actual job.

Enter FreshBooks! It’s billing and accounting software built for owners, to make business admin quick and easy. It’s designed to free up time for other more important tasks, and ultimately make working life easier—even through a lockdown.

Daniel Reiter

Written by Daniel Reiter, Editor-in-Chief, FreshBooks

Posted on October 15, 2021