Small businesses’ revenues worldwide were affected drastically when governments introduced lockdowns to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a response, many small businesses introduced digital technology initiatives. This article examines digital responses introduced by 68 small businesses that have been sourced from Google News. The news stories were analysed according to how small businesses behaved across different phases of their pandemic response (initial impact, digital response and evaluation of the response). The results, which used entrepreneurial success factors as an analytical lens, suggested that success factors were front of mind for small business owners throughout all phases of their responses. These involved traditional measures of financial success (such as measures of turnover or profit) and owner/managers’ personally oriented measures (such as wanting to assist the local community and taking care of employees and customers during the pandemic). The paper proposes new entrepreneurial success measures.