There are few endeavors more rewarding — or more challenging — than starting a small business. Sure, the risks are high and the hours long. But the satisfaction that comes from turning a dream into a successful shop, restaurant, or service that brings value and joy to customers, and life and activity into a local community … is almost immeasurable.
Easier to measure is the critical importance of small businesses to the health of the American economy. Before the pandemic, there were 31 million U.S. small businesses that employed nearly half of all workers in this country and generated 44% of its economic activity. In normal times, these businesses are responsible for two-thirds of new job creation in the United States.
Obviously, these aren’t normal times, and the pandemic has taken a massive toll on small businesses. Over the past 15 months, nearly 10 million American small businesses closed their doors at least temporarily. According to a study published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, the drop-in small biz activity between February and April last year was the largest ever recorded in the United States. And of the 20 million or so of these shops, restaurants and other businesses that made it this far, 10% are worried they will never recover and another 14% wonder if they can survive the next six months.
But small businesses are resilient, and entrepreneurs are creative and agile. Many responded by shifting their business models to take advantage of ecommerce, some for the first time. Before Covid-19, one small business in three had never made a digital sale. Today, nearly seven out of eight are selling goods and services online. This massive move to online and mobile shopping over the past year has laid the foundation for a new era of opportunity that comes with exciting new ways to reach and serve customers.
And now, with vaccination rates rising and the number of Covid cases dropping, we’re seeing signs of life that we haven’t for more than a year, inspiring hope for small business owners and their customers in small towns and big cities across the country. According to the market research firm CivicScience, 76% of Americans now feel comfortable shopping in a store, 65% are ready to eat out, and 54% are ready to travel.
The big question is: what will it take for American small businesses to weather the next stretch — and then to thrive in a mobile first, digital first future?
It starts with fast, reliable, affordable digital tools and technologies, including reliable mobile connectivity and high-speed internet. Many big cable internet service plans charge small businesses twice what they charge residential customers for the same speeds. And that’s for those lucky enough find high speed internet service at all. According to the National Association of Counties, internet speeds in 65% of U.S. counties fall below the FCC minimum to be considered broadband.
At T-Mobile, we have always believed that small businesses are the lifeblood of vibrant, thriving communities. So, with the nation’s fastest, largest, and most reliable 5G network, we are excited to provide the connectivity backbone that they will need to flourish in a world transformed by the pandemic.
Here’s how we’ll do it. To ensure that small business owners have the tools and capabilities they need, T-Mobile recently announced a set of unconventional smartphone plans and a broadband internet solution designed specifically for them. It starts with three tiers of smartphone plans designed to enable small businesses to take advantage of unlimited talk, text, and 5G data, at unbeatable prices.
And, our industry-leading 5G network also allows us to offer small businesses a reason to ditch that much despised ISP and switch. That’s right! Say goodbye to overpriced broadband and say hello to affordable, reliable high-speed internet — delivering blazing fast speeds and easy setup, without the caps, overages, and binding annual service contracts.
We’ve also teamed up with Facebook to offer small businesses expert advice and resources to help them supercharge their digital marketing efforts. On top of that, qualified small businesses can get $200 of digital advertising on Facebook or Instagram — a potential reach of 25 thousand new prospects, depending on how a campaign is designed.
I have so much admiration for America’s small business owners. Their grit, insights, work ethic, and commitment to strengthening their local communities is the true animating spirit of the American dream. We owe the millions of small business owners who persevered through the most difficult economic period in nearly a century a deep debt of gratitude.
As we slowly and safely begin to return to the shops, restaurants, and services that are such a vital part of the fabric of our cities, towns, and neighborhoods, T-Mobile is proud to be the Un-carrier partner to small businesses across America.
To learn more about the new small business offerings from T-Mobile for Business, please visit https://www.t-mobile.com/business/small-midsize-business.