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Possible TikTok ban leaves some small businesses concerned for their survival

Small business owners brace for TikTok ban
Small business owners brace for possible TikTok ban 02:13

With the clock ticking on TikTok in the U.S., millions of users, including small business owners, are scrambling to figure out what to do.

One of them is Brandon Hurst, who says TikTok has changed his life through his plant delivery business.

"It allows me to go live, share who I am, but it also makes it easy for people to buy," Hurst said. 

Since he started selling plants on TikTok last year, Hurst, better known as "Brandon the Plant Guy," says he has tripled his business.

"In the last year we've been able to sell 57,000 (plants)," Hurst said.

His company is one of seven million small businesses on TikTok, the social media platform alleges. TikTok also claims it supports more than 224,000 American jobs.

"I have friends and family members that work for me and help package plants and orders," Hurst said. "So this goes beyond just me now. This is a team of eight other people that would lose their jobs."

The TikTok ban was signed into law Wednesday by President Biden as part of a $95 billion foreign aid package. Under the new law, ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese-based owner, has nine to 12 months to sell the platform to an American owner, or TikTok faces being banned in the U.S.

A ban would force scores of entrepreneurs to look for a new home. Meanwhile, TikTok plans to file a lawsuit over the ban in federal court.

"One of the reasons that TikTok has become so popular among small businesses is because it has an ability, unlike any other platform, to send products flying off the physical and virtual shelves," Jasmine Enberg, an analyst for the data firm eMarketer, told CBS News.

Enberg believes Meta would be "one of the biggest beneficiaries" of a TikTok ban.

"Instagram Reels is the most natural fit," to replace TikTok, Enberg said. "It isn't exactly the same. You can replicate the technology, but you can't replicate the culture."

So where would Hurst pivot his social media business in the event of a TikTok ban.

"I'm on Instagram, I've been doing business on other platforms," Hurst said. "…There's just not that many places you can live sell. So I haven't thought about it yet, to be honest. I'm not sure...what we would do."

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