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Knocked down but not out and fighting to go the distance: Small business responses to an unfolding crisis in the initial impact period

Rachel Doern

Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 2021, vol. 15, issue C

Abstract: This study explores in real time how small businesses adjust to an unfolding crisis in the initial crisis impact period and what kinds of actions they take. A weekly diary study following a group of entrepreneurs in London over the first couple months of the COVID-19 inspired lockdown across the UK beginning March 23, 2020, found that small businesses were knocked down but not out by events. Small businesses were increasing their chances of survival (going the distance) by 1) monitoring business functioning and detecting risks (checking vitals), 2) initiating quick defensive moves to absorb damages and defend against additional risks (blocking), 3) undertaking more skilful moves to avoid further damages (deflecting), and 4) planning the next move and managing expectations (developing tactical awareness). While the unfolding crisis does not literally represent a fight, features of how boxers engage in a fight were borrowed to help explain small business responses.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Crises; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Lockdown; Diary study (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00221

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