How Some Businesses Are Adapting To Life During A Pandemic

Posted by Brandon Henry on

How Some Businesses Are Adapting To Life During A Pandemic

Depending on where you’re sitting, it may have seemed like the whole country came screeching to a halt when Covid-19 reached pandemic levels earlier this year. Many businesses struggled to adapt, and in some cases may still be struggling. Others reacted decisively and managed to serve both the public good and steer themselves through a difficult, and complicated economic times.

These are the solutions the businesses that are thriving amid the pandemic are using to be the best version of themselves they can be for the current moment.

Creating Service Lines

CareSignal, a digital service for patient scheduling and monitoring, stepped up to provide assistance to an already strained medical network. They quickly created a service line, which they called “COVID Companion” which uses an SMS platform to quickly relay information and updates about the ongoing pandemic.

Their service addresses specific needs that may be placing additional need on hospitals and medical providers around the nation, by providing care instruction, and location-specific updates about threat levels and containment procedures. This has helped reduce the strain on testing, and helped medical providers project an air of calmness and control at a time when it is vital to do so.

What Your Business Can Learn From This:

  • Identify areas where your customers may have either new needs or additional strain
  • Prioritize existing services that may address those needs
  • Considering creating new services that may serve this specific moment in time

Shifting to Online/Digital Services

Horderly, a professional organization service, found itself outside the category of business that would allow them to continue the in-person aspects of their business. Rather than turning customers away, or allowing bookings to pile up and creating a massive backlog, they launched a digital version of their service.

Their digital platform was launched with the assumption that many potential customers were stuck at home, wanting a more organized space, and having more time to do it themselves. Their digital services include consulting, action steps, and tools to help subscribers organize their homes with Horderly’s help.

What Your Business Can Learn From This:

  • Consider ways that the situation might be creating needs or potential customers that didn’t exist before.
  • Think creatively about which aspects of your business can be done remotely, by adding consulting and video services, even if that means offering a pared-down version of your service.
  • Assure your customers that they are still getting the full benefit of your expertise, even without your physical presence.

Offering Free Versions of a Service

Educational media producer Weird Enough Productions found itself in a difficult position when the pandemic closed down schools. With much of their business relying on schools being open and equipped to use their programs, they were faced with the possibility of mass cancelation and stagnation.

Instead, they did something bold: they offered their service for free to educators. With teachers in many cases struggling to move classes online and keep students engaged over video and remote schooling, Weird Enough Productions saw that their service and materials could play a vital role in keeping students engaged, and continuing their education even as traditional, in-person schooling is floundering for a solution.

What Your Business Can Learn From This:

  • Giving something now, whether it’s free trials, waiving enrollment fees, or removing restrictions, will often build long term relationships.
  • Calculate if the cost of giving something for free will yield results in the form of building name recognition or having your foot in the door.
  • Realize that new, free subscribers are not a loss, but rather a pipeline of clients that can be upgraded to premium versions of your service in the future.

Expanding Delivery, and Partnerships

Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place market found itself in the same position as all restaurants: their dine-in service was shut down entirely, and they were restricted to pick-up and delivery. Rather than simply hunkering down and hoping their existing delivery business was going to be enough, they started expanding.

They beefed up their website and online presence, expanded their delivery options, and even began including other businesses in the market and nearby in their delivery services. They received a huge spike in business, driven in part by the expanded variety of options, and people looking to support local businesses for delivery and carryout.

What Your Business Can Learn From This:

  • Consider that other businesses are in the same position you’re in
  • Offer partnerships that bundle products or services
  • Expand both your offerings and your online presence.
  • Consider if you can share infrastructure or supplies to your mutual benefit (and maybe even survival)

Dedicating Resources to Pandemic-Specific Products

Longstanding US-made apparel brand Tultex didn’t find themselves in the same dire straights that many other businesses did, but from a position of relative security, they saw a specific need that they were uniquely equipped to fill at scale: masks. With nationwide and global shortages of N95 masks, they diverted their production priorities to producing up to 2 million reusable masks per week.

Their first impulse was to provide healthcare workers who were going without masks or trying to reuse disposable masks with much-needed supplies, but have since begun making their masks available to consumers among the general public.

What Your Business Can Learn From This:

  • Consider if you have the ability to offer goods and services that would meet a specific need or shortage.
  • Dedicate or divert resources to producing those products or services.
  • Prioritize the areas of greatest need, or those that integrate best with your existing product or brand.

In Conclusion

The pandemic and related containment measures are putting a strain on a lot of sectors. If you’re looking for your business to not just survive, but thrive during a troubling time you’ll need to do more than just expand your online presence, but also make a tactical assessment of not just the needs and resources around you, but ways that your business can expand their offerings in new ways.

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