Expedited Vaccine Distribution Is Even More Crucial 

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80% Of SMB Owners Need PPP Funding ASAP, But 58% Say Expedited Vaccine Distribution Is Even More Crucial

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Alignable is releasing January State of Small Business Report today, which is replete with the latest statistics on small business owners' thoughts regarding the new PPP, vaccine distribution, and their overall recovery outlook.

This report reflects research collected from 575,000 small businesses since last March, but is most focused on cutting-edge data from a poll of 10,325 small business owners conducted this week (1/9/21-1/12/21).

Here are a few key findings:

  • 80% of small business owners require federal financial relief -- now
  • Cash Crunch: 34% of small businesses have just one month or less of cash on hand
  • But expedited vaccine distribution is even more important than the PPP: 58% say vaccine distribution by the end of Feb. would have a greater positive effect on their businesses than PPP funds
  • In fact, 84% of small business owners listed rapid vaccine distribution as important, if not critical (34%), to helping them stay in business through June, 2021
  • More than one-third could close for good if they have to wait until May/June for vaccines.


Alignable has collected over 575,000 business owner responses since March 2020, mapping the Coronavirus Impact and Recovery of the Small Businesses Economy across the United States and Canada. Unless otherwise noted, polls in this report were conducted among 10,325 business owners from 1/9/21 to 1/12/21.

This report was written during the second week of January and features insights on business sentiment as the latest round of PPP relief funding is finally becoming available, political unrest is causing further injury to the small business economy, and the vaccine distribution process across the U.S. seems a complete mess.

On that somber note, let’s examine the latest reports of COVID’s impact on small businesses…

Coronavirus Impact Level

  • 66% Of SMBs Still Experiencing Negative Impact
  • “Significant Impact” Felt By 46%
  • Businesses Hibernate Until Recovery is Possible
  • PPP Round 3 Mitigates Some Financial Concerns
  • Vaccine Distribution Key to Recovery

Overall, small businesses experiencing a negative impact from COVID-19 declined slightly by 2% to 66%, with the percentage of business owners experiencing “significant impact” decreasing 4% to 46%. Businesses reporting positive impact was flat at 15% of respondents.

Vaccine Distribution

Looking at the impact over time, this month we noticed a decline in the percentage of businesses stating the impact was significant and a slight lift in the businesses reporting they felt the impact was on the decline. While we didn’t see improvements in the customer levels or revenues, the improved outlook could be attributed to the passing of the third round of CARES Act Stimulus coupled with multiple approvals of COVID vaccines.

Vaccine Distribution

Here are a few quotes from our polltakers that illustrate the range of impact small business owners are experiencing now. Some could effectively pivot and are faring quite well. However, many others desperately need more funds for a short-term fix, and a change in consumer mindsets, which likely will require widespread vaccine distribution ASAP.

“I run a sewing school. 2020 started really well. Then the shutdown was devastating. But selling masks kept my business alive. Once we reopened, things got a little better. I had to change the way I ran my business by doing virtual classes. That was a huge help. Now in 2021, I’m doing well, better than I expected. My numbers are not like they were, but I can see the business growing in the future.”

“2021 marks my 28th year in the tradeshow and special events industry. March 2020 was the last time we participated in a show, due to the national shutdown of large gatherings. I would like to urge state and federal legislators to offer specific protocols and guidelines for show management groups to follow, so our industry can begin our recovery. We are all at a standstill with no end in sight and very limited means to generate revenue. The PPP and EIDL funding has been helpful, but not enough nor sustainable for the long term.”

“I had already begun to close my video production business at the beginning of 2020 and moved into starting my RV mentoring and RV inspection business (a side gig). Well, now business is booming. And I got a full-time IT job in May 2020 with a WFA (work from anywhere) kind of place. It’s a remote IT job, so I can go RVing/do inspections on the road, and still do my FT gig. Life is good in my world, as people are buying RVs like nuts.”

“It isn't so much impacting the business as much anymore, it’s more that we are working out of a hole we were put in because of the pandemic. The moving industry received very little by way of stimulus or assistance. I have never been on unemployment or any other assistance program, but I can't help but think we wouldn't be in this position if the leaders of this county, state and country were a little more attentive to small business.”

“The future remains uncertain, but I will continue to practice psychotherapy and be available to see clients. There’s been a significant increase in the demand for help. People are struggling. I’m finding that people who did not have a significant history of anxiety and depression do now.”

You can see the full report here, which includes 17 graphs illustrating this week's poll results.