- How To Pivot Your Business During a Pandemic
Photo by visuals on Unsplash
When the COVID-19 situation first escalated in March 2020, my Dad made the ethical decision to shut down his vacation rental and wine tour company temporarily. Soon after, restrictions came into effect from the federal government, forcing his closure anyway.
“I shut the company down. There’s no money coming in.”
Imagine losing your source of income overnight, going from earning 4-figures a month to nothing in the blink of an eye. Maybe you can — perhaps it happened to you, too.
You’re not alone — many “non-essential” businesses were forced to close throughout this pandemic — and the closures aren’t ending, even with the vaccine distribution now in effect. Back in November 2020, “70% of businesses in Toronto said they wouldn’t financially make it through another lockdown.”
But yet another lockdown is upon us. Today (January 12th, 2021), Ontario announced new stay-at-home orders. While some businesses are allowed to remain open, others like gyms, restaurants, travel-related businesses, and more are taking a hard hit.
Today, I want to share five ways you can consider pivoting your business to remain profitable amid this public health crisis.
Oftentimes people don’t want to buy things; they want to buy experiences. That’s why they’re happy to spend hard-earned money on things like wine tours, weekend getaways, and all-inclusive retreats. Traveling is hard right now. As in, we can’t really do it all.
Consider how you can provide your customers with the end-result they want — an experience — while abiding by the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
For example, a vacation rental company like my Dad’s could offer a subscription box. Instead of curating a Date Night at one of their rental properties, they could offer a subscription box that brings date night to the customer.
Just think — the customer unwraps a logoed box filled with local wine, handmade candles, fun snack items, and a puzzle or mind teazer to enjoy — all promoting local businesses without requiring travel. Your customers get the experience they want, delivered in a new, creative way, and everyone stays safe and healthy.
A retail clothing store could provide the same type of membership service. For example, curated loungewear delivered to your doorstep.
If you’re someone who knows how to create subscription box businesses, then good news — your services are in demand. Consider reaching out to companies forced to close by the pandemic and working with them to implement this new business model.
Was your business forced to go remote when COVID-19 hit? You’re not alone — hundreds of thousands of jobs became WFH (work from home) virtually overnight with this pandemic. How did you navigate this transition to remote work? If you’ve been successful, consider documenting your processes and helping businesses like yours make the transition as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Your target audience suddenly shifts to service other business owners. You can set up information products/consulting services to help them navigate this new world. Suddenly, you’ve opened yourself up to potential customers on a global scale — no longer restrained by geography.
Brick and mortar businesses typically rely on walk-in traffic — that traffic channel is hurting right now with the pandemic.
Even if you can’t open your shop for walk-in customers, you can still build your brand online. Dust off that email list and renew your efforts to grow it. Start posting on social media and gaining new followers. The purpose of this is twofold:
- Grow your brand and get your name out there, so when people can shop in-person again, they want to visit your store.
Grow your following and offer modified services that are compliant with the lockdown restrictions in your region. For example, a brewery in my area now offers “make at home” pizza and burger kits. Order a kit, pick it up, and you have everything you need for dinner. Also, a yoga studio in my neighborhood started offering online classes. Both of these businesses advertise their new services on social media.
If you have experience with email or social media marketing, consider reaching out to these businesses and offering to help them navigate the online world. Can you create email campaigns, help them sell online, or show them how to build a social media following? They need your help!
If you provide in-person services, consider how you could deliver your clients the same result differently.
Gyms are the perfect example. In-person workouts at a gym are a big no-no right now (at least in Ontario) — but personal trainers still have options. They could create online workouts that clients could stream or offer personalized fitness programs via online coaching.
If you’re willing to get creative and learn some new skills, you might be able to serve even more clients than you could with your prior in-person model.
If you’re someone who knows how to set up sales funnels and online membership sites — there’s the perfect product right there! Help gyms transition to online fitness.
If all else fails and there is no way to pivot or remain profitable, but you aren’t planning on closing your doors permanently, for the love of God, do not stop talking to your community.
Your customers and clients may not be buying right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re never going to buy again. (unless you’re closing permanently, that’s a different story.) Do NOT let them forget about you by cutting off all communications.
Keep your emails going — even if there’s nothing they can buy from you right now. Give them more “getting to know you” content. People buy from people, not businesses. Now is the perfect time to give your email subscribers insight into who you are and why you started this business in the first place. Be authentic, vulnerable, and open. Let people see and know the real you.
If you don’t have an email list, this concept still applies. Provide this content on social media or whatever platforms you use to communicate with your customers.
When recessions hit, people hold on to their money even tighter. That means they have to trust you even more before they’re willing to part with it. Spend time building that trust now, so when they’re ready to buy, they’ll turn to you.
If you’re capable of building “getting to know you” email sequences for clients, there’s another example of an in-demand product that can be delivered virtually!
- Businesses might be able to remain profitable amid the pandemic by getting creative with who they serve and how they serve them.
Consider creating an online subscription box. Think about what results your customers seek when they shop with you. Can you deliver this in a new way while abiding by the COVID-19 safety guidelines?
Consider shifting your target audience to serve a new niche. Can you teach people how you successfully transitioned to remote work or an online business model?
Consider building online traffic channels to grow your brand and your online following. This is a great way to promote your services without relying on walk-in traffic.
Consider how you can deliver your clients the same result in a new and different way. Instead of in-person services, can you create online videos or coaching?
If you can’t pivot and don’t have to close your doors permanently, keep communicating with your audience. Stay top-of-mind, so they’re ready to do business with you when you reopen.
- Date of publication:
- Thu, 01/14/2021 - 01:51
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