The coronavirus pandemic flipped the business world on its head. As the nation was forced into lockdown, businesses had to think on their feet to find ways to continue to meet the needs of their customers. We saw restaurants transform into takeaways, bricks and mortar stores move to online, and events businesses turn to webinars.
Small businesses, in particular, have the ability to be agile. They benefit from a more flexible structure that supports creative problem-solving and the ability to adapt quickly to different ways of working.
Even if you haven’t pivoted your business in response to the pandemic, now could be the time to rethink your strategy and try new ideas. Especially because the reality for many businesses is that they won’t be able to return to 'business as usual' in the new post-coronavirus world.
We’ve put together some ideas and tips to help you pivot your business.
If you haven’t already set up a strong online presence, now is the time to do so. If you own a shop, now is the time to get selling online. It doesn’t have to replace your bricks and mortar store - it can complement it. You may want to consider a click and collect service too. Shopify is currently offering a free 14-day trial, so now’s a good time to give it a go.
Going digital doesn’t just mean selling online. You can showcase your products and services online - think explainer videos and virtual demonstrations. And if you haven’t already, now is the time to embrace a social media strategy so you can raise awareness of your brand and draw in more business.
Leverage what you’ve already got
Take a look at your existing products and services and think about how them in the context of the new post-coronavirus world. Are there products or services you can adapt to meet new customer needs? Or, are there a new set of customers that could now benefit from your product or service?
Aside from your products or services, you may have other assets that could be of benefit to others. For example, if you find yourself with more storage space than you had before, you may be able to offer it to other businesses to rent on a short-term basis.
Look for collaboration opportunities
Collaborating with other local businesses is a great way to test out new markets and grow your customer base. Is there an opportunity to bundle your products or services together with those of another local business? How about partnering up to cross-promote each other’s products on social media or other news outlets?
Look for companies you respect, who have similar values and goals to your own, and who complement your brand. For example, if you’re a home and lifestyle store, how about teaming up with the cafe next door? If you’re an estate agent, you could connect with removals companies, financial advisors and solicitors in your area.
Keep your team engaged
If you’re going to pivot, it’s vital your whole team are on board. They need to be engaged and productive to make it work. Getting everyone involved from the get-go and giving them a voice is crucial. They need to feel like they are part of the decision-making process. So why not set up a team meeting to brainstorm new ideas for your business? If you want to be an innovate company, you need to give your team permission to think outside the box.
- Think ‘same mission, new approach’ - pivoting doesn’t have to be about changing the focus or values of your business, you may just need a slight change of course to meet the evolving needs and wants of your customers
- Stabilise your business first - it can be difficult to pivot your business during times of immense change and pressure, so make sure you tighten your belt first and ensure you take the necessary steps to ensure you can weather the return to the ‘new normal’
- Regularly review ways to pivot on an ongoing basis - every quarter, take a close look at your business and think about what new services or products you could offer to grow your business.
If your business has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember that some of the best business ideas come out of the worst times, as new ideas and innovations provide a beacon of hope.
All you need is to take a look at your current business and get creative in thinking about the changes you can make to help you flourish in the post-coronavirus world. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”