Survey: Unexpected expenses hurt businesses

Posted on Feb 8, 2021 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
Posted by of Insight Publications

Shop local campaigns helped businesses during the holidays, but many still struggle with extra COVID-19-related expenses, according to a survey from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Center for Customized Research and Services.

The monthly survey, which has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on businesses since last April, found that despite challenges, overall viability remains high, with nearly half of responding businesses reporting the ability to continue more than 10 months under current conditions.

During the month of December, businesses reported inventory losses of $1.2 million, income losses of $609,416, wage and productivity gains of $155,706, and $6 million in other financial losses.

CCRS Interim Director Jeff Sachse says “relatively modest” income losses point to the resilience of many of the state’s businesses demonstrated over the past several months as well as a greater level of support from local consumers. He says efforts by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Main Street organizations to promote shop-local campaigns during the holiday season helped stem losses many small businesses expected to see.

“More troubling is the fact that businesses reported a large volume of unanticipated expenses, with several nonprofits reporting annual fundraising results well behind their averages,” Sachse says. “These organizations have also attempted to pivot through new donor portals and activities, yet many lack the capacity to do so effectively. This is an area that certainly bears further consideration.”

Sachse says future surveys will attempt to identify additional areas of concern and where business owners see opportunities to recover.