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The first year and a half of the pandemic hit small businesses especially hard, with the worst impact falling on those whose income relies on face-to-face contact with customers. What kept many of them afloat — beyond government subsidies — was a massive shift towards digitization, as even companies with no previous online presence began scrambling to open up new, more resilient revenue channels.

A key facilitator of that shift was Facebook, through its ecommerce and advertising offerings. In this episode, Quartz CEO Zach Seward speaks with the Meta’s VP for the Global Business Group, Nicola Mendelsohn, about how those tools are helping to mitigate small business challenges by enabling them to either reach a wider audience or strengthen their ties to their local communities. In some cases, she says, this has led companies to become even more profitable than they were before the crisis hit.

Mendelsohn also highlights one additional trend that arose during the pandemic which she believes will benefit small businesses in the long run: the collapse of the traditional purchasing funnel. Social media ads allow customers to discover new brands and buy from them instantly, helping democratize the market for companies of all sizes.

Read more: The pandemic exposed small businesses’ vulnerabilities—and how to fix them

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