Small and medium businesses, otherwise known as SMBs, went through a lot in the past year. While they forced many to close, others chose to be patient and were resilient through the storm. 

However, the most interesting story of the SMB space last year has nothing to do with businesses sinking or floating. Instead, the surprising narrative has been all about the small businesses that got their feet wet for the very first time.

To put it simply, 2020 welcomed an entrepreneur explosion. As unemployment levels skyrocketed to numbers not seen since the Great Depression and more Americans shifted their work to home, it opened the doors for new companies to be launched at a historical rate.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 4.3 million people registered for new business applications. This was almost 840,000 over 2019 and represented a staggering 25% jump. 

To compare, there was an 8% drop in applications when the 2008 credit and mortgage crisis happened. In fact, Economic Innovation Group has reported that by 2008, likely employer business applications were down nearly 230,000 from their 2007 level.

Fueled through the help of Fintech, the internet, and various sources of capital from stimulus, loans, and grants, the startup boom last year was remarkable.

Forbes writer Maneet Ahuja has reported that Shopify, the mega software company that lets small businesses sell online, saw a near 80% increase in new stores in 2020. PayPal also had a 40% rise in business accounts over the same period, said Ahuja.

Guidant Financial and the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA) conducted a Small Business Trends survey of over 2,400 current and aspiring small business and found that 63% of the respondents were actually profitable last year.

It is impressive that many businesses succeeded so quickly, but moving forward, the primary goal is to continue maximizing profits. 

Because SMBs traditionally have to work with conservative budgets, this makes radio one of the best and proven ways for these businesses to continue succeeding.

Some people may think that radio is becoming more obsolete because of the prevalence of the internet and other related advertising platforms, but this is not the case. With millions of listeners tuning in each day, radio can market the products and services of an SMB quickly and cost effectively to big audiences.

According to Statista, radio is one of the most powerful mediums in the United States, with a weekly reach of around 82.5 percent among adults. As of 2020, Americans averaged 99 minutes of radio listening time per day. Online radio is also playing an increasing role in the radio market, with an estimated 974 minutes spent listening to online radio on a monthly basis in 2021.

Nielsen Audio has also reported that a whopping 243 million people listen to the radio and listen to advertisements.

Any SMB looking for exposure may want to consider a radio media tour, otherwise known as an RMT.

An RMT is a cost-effective and efficient way of getting optimal radio exposure for messages which comprises a series of pre-arranged, back-to-back, 10-15 minute interviews between a spokesperson and 15-20 targeted radio stations. 

Benefits of a radio media tour include its affordability, as radio is less expensive than cable television advertising yet often has the same reach. And because repetition is actually important in radio advertising, the low cost enables a business to do many interviews which can achieve better results.

Radio is also more memorable. Sound can be stored effectively inside memory for longer than visuals. Why do you think marketers try to come up with catchy jingles?.

Furthermore, it’s easy to narrowly target listeners. Radio stations are constantly examining their listener profiles to see which demographic groups listen to specific shows, personalities and times of day.

This is a new dawn for many Americans and the influx into the SMB space may only be heating up.  As small businesses continue to take off, using a radio media tour may be the smartest way to help them get off the ground and achieve long-term success.

CEO John Lettieri of Economic Innovation Group (EIG) in a Forbes interview has said of the rise of SMBs, “Today, you have the opportunity to do things remotely that would never have been possible even ten years ago.” 

It takes a lot to make a business successful long term though. Kabbage Inc. surveyed over 600 U.S. small business owners last year and found that many showed a lack of confidence.

With so many listeners, and commercials being unskippable and unblockable, a radio media tour can be just the thing to help small and medium-sized businesses reach new customers, build awareness, and gain the confidence that they need.