Main Street Small Business Study 2020

The Road To Recovery

The Road To Recovery: Main Street SMBs And Closing The Cash Flow Gap, a PYMNTS and Visa collaboration, draws from a series of studies conducted over the course of four months to understand how the small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) on Main Street, USA, are coping with sparse foot traffic and widespread cash flow shortages. We surveyed more than 1,600 firms generating less than $10 million in annual revenues and maintaining brick-and-mortar locations in commercial areas, rather than residential neighborhoods. The Main Street SMBs in our sample hailed from more than 26 industries.

This report assesses the frequency with which they have experienced cash flow shortages during the past four months, the technologies and strategies they have implemented to help them mitigate these shortages and their interest in maintaining those operational changes after their local economies have recovered.

This is their story.

Key findings from our latest research

  • Seventy-six percent of Main Street SMBs report having cash flow shortages during the past four months.
  • Thirty-seven percent of Main Street SMBs that have experienced cash flow issues have tapped personal funds to fill cash flow gaps, and nearly one quarter ask family and friends for loans.
  • More than nine out of every 10 Main Street SMBs want access to real-time settlement of funds.
  • More than half of Main Street SMBs that want real-time settlement access want it to improve their cash flow and be able to settle 24/7 year-round.
  • Concerns over chargebacks and costs keep some Main Street SMBs from exploring real-time settlement options.
  • Forty-two percent of Main Street SMBs would switch to a new POS provider to acquire real-time settlement capabilities.
  • Real estate and technology firms are most likely to switch to acquirers or processors that can offer them real-time settlement options.
  • Main Street SMBs that have to wait four or more days to access funds are the most interested in switching providers to get real-time settlement services.
  • Cash flow matters, because the average Main Street SMB does not expect to recover from the pandemic's impact until at least Q1 2021.
  • Main Street SMBs are adopting digital methods to make sales and fill their cash flow gaps as they restart their businesses.