Freelance Social Media Expert, Toronto Influencer & Agency Founder. Founder of Hit Pause Project. Social Media Professor.
The current climate of this pandemic has been hitting certain businesses harder than others. While many businesses have been able to pivot online, others have had to close their doors after decades. Some businesses have made realistic and effective pivots to their business models and are worth considering applying to your own.
1. Foster and give back to your local community.
Can your brand donate a free product or service to your community? For example, ELXR Juicelab teamed up with Calii Love to donate some of its products, including immune-boosting and anti-viral Defender Shots, to food banks, first responders, local hospitals and other local meal donation services and programs during the pandemic.
If you can’t donate a complimentary product or service, a monetary donation can really help your community during difficult times. If that is out of the question, your business or brand can always start showcasing other small businesses from your channels, and focus on creating a community digitally.
2. Rethink and repackage luxuries.
If your brand is catered toward a luxury experience, try shipping out items that can add to the atmosphere at home, such as scents, textures or even music. Add a list of recommended playlists to enjoy your product. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same; try playing with some luxury alternatives.
For example, Aburi Restaurants, a Japanese-cuisine brand, has introduced delivery and pickup options that offer superior quality sushi-grade in the city for more affordable prices, such as the Hana Bento Box for $75-$85 CAD (compared to their $330 CDN 15-course dining-in experience).
3. Shift to a more efficient production and e-commerce model.
After a few weeks of closure, Hunter Coffee Shop reopened and switched its business model from a strictly retail model to a production model with an e-commerce website for orders. They started to offer full curbside pickup and deliveries on weekends.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar shop, it should go without saying that you need to invest in an e-commerce shop by now. Content management systems like Shopify are easy to work with and don’t necessarily require you to have coding experience. Instead of delivery, offer curbside pickup to keep your model as efficient as possible. With pre-order only, you can know exactly how much sales you will make for the day, which means less spoilage and predictable labor costs.
4. Relocate energy.
For businesses like Make Lemonade, a vibrant co-working space for women, having a physical space is critical. Yet they’ve managed to pivot in a way that earned them over a hundred new signups for virtual co-working upon its launch. The brand took the magic and motivation that happens in their space and translated the experience online through morning accountability chats, work sprints and even virtual mixers.
I signed up because of the strong community and was not disappointed. They’ve made working from home during the pandemic invigorating. Applying this to your business model may simply mean re-thinking your copy and digital assets — does this excite you in a real way?
Any work-from-home business can use this mentality in their day-to-day. If you have a culture manager, have them start to work toward a digital strategy. Perhaps it’s a 4:00-4:30 p.m. tropical-themed cocktail mixer, where you send over a colorful arrangement of Zoom backgrounds to work with. If your company is small enough, you could even send meals over to your employees through a delivery service like Uber Eats and have a company meal together. Get creative with it.
It’s likely that your business has had its own set of unique advantages and challenges, but above all, it’s important to lean into your local communities. Ask for help wherever possible, and try to be as real with your customers as you can. The group that is being hit hard by the pandemic is small brick-and-mortar businesses. Help each other wherever possible.
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Author: Kelly Samuel, Forbes Councils Member