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Financial support isn’t enough to combat COVID-19 impact on small-businesses

Business strategy tools are most important resource, expert says

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic shutdowns are changing the U.S. and global economies in potentially permanent ways, and according to one Northwestern University expert, the key resource businesses will need in the long run is not just financial relief but also strategic business guidance.

Linda Darragh, the Larry Levy executive director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, is available to discuss the unique challenges the pandemic brings for small businesses, as well as the tools available to help them. Specifically, she can address ways in which small businesses will have to adapt their business models to meet the demands of a changing economic landscape.

Darragh launched the Kellogg Small Business Advisory Initiative, which pairs small business owners with Kellogg alumni, at no cost, to provide business mentorship and advice as they navigate an uncertain business environment.

Interview the experts on shutdowns' impact on small business

Linda Darragh, expert on shutdown's impact on small business

Linda Darragh

Small business innovation expert

“We won’t truly understand how devastating COVID-19 has been for small businesses until our favorite stores do not open again. Small businesses can and must innovate, and the effects of this innovation can last well beyond the shutdowns.

“Customer engagement can no longer be solely focused on in-person experiences. The pandemic has forced companies to virtually engage in creative ways that not only retain existing customers but attract new customers from new geographies. In the long run, this might be a good thing for those businesses that manage to adapt.

“Small businesses must realize that they do not have to manage through this crisis alone. There has been a great deal of focus on the financial relief programs, but another important resource is forward-thinking business strategy tools. These are the things that will help companies survive and thrive long-term.”