Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way business is conducted in the world. In a matter of days state, local, and federal governments began encouraging social distancing and enacting stay-at-home orders which fundamentally affected small businesses.
At Baseline Creative, we experienced the rapid change ourselves, and since then, have helped several of our clients find their footing. As a result, we’ve helped clients make quick changes to their business model to remain not just competitive, but viable. Adapting in business—especially during a crisis—is critical.
How can small businesses survive a pandemic?
Adaptability is key. The quicker a business can identify the challenges they face and adapt to meet those challenges head-on, the better. An article on Forbes.com broke the crisis out into four phases:
- Awaiting the impact
- Withstanding the impact
- Returning to normal
- Sorting out the new industry dynamics
Right now, our community and the nation are in the second phase. In this phase, companies are struggling to stay open due to the difficulties with supply chains, sick employees, and in some cases, the inability of their customers to reach them.
The food and beverage industries have been hit particularly hard. The restaurant reservation service, OpenTable, has reported a 100% reduction in reservations from this time last year in the 60,000 restaurants they serve.
Case studies from our own backyard
Adaptability in business has become crucial for the restaurant industry and Baseline is passionate about helping our clients meet and overcome challenges.
For example, in the span of 72 hours, the developers at Baseline were able to build online ordering systems for two of our restaurant clients. These clients have a web presence; however, online ordering wasn’t a part of the functionality because it didn’t have to be. As things changed due to COVID-19, the ability for customers to order online instead of in-store, became crucial. As a result, both clients have been able to remain open.
Flexibility is important with small businesses not related to the hospitality, food, and beverage or travel industries as well. In the case of Baseline Creative, having a plan and infrastructure in place to work remotely has made all the difference.
As the COVID-19 crisis became more serious in our local community, we began working remotely. This ability to quickly shift how we operate has been a smooth process because of prior planning. Over the past several years, we have planned for contingencies, including the need to work from our homes. While a pandemic wasn’t necessarily on our minds, this intentional preparedness has helped us adapt so we can continue our client work, help them succeed, and remain successful ourselves.
How do we move from surviving to thriving in the future?
An article on MarketWatch.com spoke to the way business may stay changed after the immediate threat of COVID-19 is over. Some of their takeaways include a “tolerance for flexible work schedules” and “special services for special customers,” and understanding that “what’s good for people is good for business”. It makes sense that after a global trauma, treating others with dignity and respect, in all areas would be an important step in economic recovery.
The Financial Times has pointed out that more “responsible capitalism” will become an expectation for consumers. For example, the shift some aerospace manufacturers, including Textron, have made to producing face masks for health workers. Again, what is good for people is good for business.
Undoubtedly, planning for the future is key. An article in the Harvard Business Review laid out five “P’s” to prepare your business for the post-COVID-19 world. As well as a worksheet around these steps.
- Position – make sure you know how your company is positioned in the marketplace.
- Plan – without a plan of how to proceed, it will be nearly impossible to reach your goals.
- Perspective – how will your corporate culture have changed? Are your employees going to be happy with how you handled their needs, as well as corporate needs?
- Projects – determine what actions you need to take to sustain during another crisis as well as grow.
- Preparedness – lastly, your company needs to be prepared for the next disaster or crisis. To come away from this with no plan for the future would be wasting the experience.
Life after COVID-19 will be different—there is no doubt about that. Although we should note that the need for adapting in business isn’t limited to a crisis. Baseline Creative will continue to work with our clients to encourage, promote, and serve their needs and hopefully, make the world a better place in the process. Contact us to see how we can help you creatively solve your issues.