Entrepreneurs share their pandemic strategies to stay in business

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit all corners of the globe, businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Many have been forced to close their doors, and others have been forced to turn around or even completely change their business model.

Reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have documented the devastating impact of economic uncertainty. More than half (56%) saw demand for their products or services decline, while 19% were forced to close due to government-imposed restrictions; nearly 72 million employees were employed at sites that were ceasing operations.

As someone who works in the live event space and advises for many brick and mortar companies, I have seen firsthand how the pandemic has decimated our industry. My marketing agency, like many others, had to run to survive and think outside the box of our normal service offerings.

Using digitization as a way to build relationships

Due to the pandemic, companies had to digitize to keep their heads above water. For some, this meant setting up an online store for the first time. For others, it meant moving their entire personal operation to a virtual space. Embracing technology has been a key survival strategy for businesses during the pandemic — and it has enabled many to reach a wider audience and continue operating despite its limitations.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. It’s no surprise that many companies in this industry had to take drastic measures to stay afloat. Jason Giagrande, CEO of Hospitality Farm, says technology has been critical to their business and addressing the challenges of the pandemic. “With the right tech stack and resources, you can position your business for success,” he notes.

Many companies have turned to virtual platforms and distance-friendly services in order to continue functioning. This has been a huge adjustment for many companies, but one that was necessary for survival.

Yan Chelly, Vice President of Business and Operation at Fiverr, pointed out that since their platform was already digital, they were able to not only keep their business afloat, but also grow during the pandemic. “As an online-first company, talent on Fiverr has always offered digital versus in-person services.” However, as the pandemic progressed, it became abundantly clear how much businesses needed to digitally transform and provide their customers with a first online experience. “This led to new innovations on our platform,” says Chelly. “We opened a number of new categories to support digital transformation, including one that allowed talent to deliver lessons online to clients rather than in person.”

Show customer value

Companies that have been able to continue to provide value are the ones that have not only survived but also thrived during the pandemic. Instead of working in the event space, we moved on to digitally designing and selling hundreds of masks for my online store until things picked up on the desk side again. This was something I never thought about before the pandemic, but it turned out to be a lifesaver for my business.

Brandon Fay, founder and president of Pasta by Hudson and The Perry Club, has a similar story. He says, “I’m sticking to the basics right now, stepping back, looming around me and trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong and right.”

Fay explains that people want value and comfort, which is exactly what they tried to provide. “In the summer I gave away cookies and mini slushies. Everything that would make my guests remember me and set me apart from the competition. People want value, they want to know that they are valued, and they spend their hard-earned money in a place that cares. The base.”

From restaurants to gyms, customers in all establishments were looking for value and comfort in such turbulent times.

Jim Rowley, CEO of Crunch gyms, also explained how gyms focused on innovation – and fast: “Our entire Crunch team, from corporate staff to our network of franchisees, found innovation essential to survival. First and foremost, our largest Lesson learned was that communication was critical to staying connected with our teams and engaging our members as everyone struggled with a new normal.We launched new, innovative approaches to our business model.This included taking equipment and classes outdoors in markets and climates where possible, and making our streaming online workouts free for all members.”

The gym chain also negotiated their leases and closed several office spaces to stabilize their finances.

Ggive them something creative

One way to stand out is to be distinctive, which can be achieved through creative thinking. During the ongoing uncertain path of the virus, companies were forced to get creative with their products or services to appeal to a wider audience. These companies had to come up with entirely new products or services that were more relevant to the world and changing circumstances. The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with many restaurants closing their doors.

Momoya, a sushi restaurant with locations in New York City, was no exception. The Japanese eatery immediately got creative. KwangHo Lee, owner of Momoya, says his employees are exceptional during the pandemic. “I can never thank them enough for their selfless cooperation,” he says. “Momoya seeks to build and maintain a work environment where employees feel recognized, respected and protected; this makes Momoya employees feel that Momoya is their second home, and so many employees are long-term members.”

He also points out that the strong “takeaway” game has been key to their survival. “We’ve expanded our delivery business quite a bit during the pandemic by signing up to more delivery platforms, running promotions, increasing delivery radius and developing menus specific to promotions. If your food is good, promotions that raise awareness of your restaurant with new customers will pay you back through repeat customers,” he explains.

Whether it’s about adjusting their business model or getting creative with their marketing, entrepreneurs are constantly asked to innovate in good and bad times. And while the past few years of the pandemic have not made it easy, many are managing to make it work and remain optimistic for the future.

This post Entrepreneurs share their pandemic strategies to stay in business was original published at “https://www.fastcompany.com/90742850/3-ways-entrepreneurs-keep-their-businesses-fresh-during-changing-times?partner=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss”

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