The lockdowns caused by Covid-19 last year forced people and companies all over the world to reassess their businesses. Some managed to survive, others weren’t so lucky. But in spite of all the chaos, some thrived.
Multi-national corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, AMAT and Coinbase turned to the work-from-home model which, for the most part, has been a resounding success. Other companies took drastic measures to limit Covid-19’s impact on their business. Pinterest bit the bullet and paid an incredible $90 million in 2020 to terminate their lease in San Francisco. Other companies have embraced the work-from-home model and in the process reduced their physical presence in cities worldwide which be a harbinger for commercial real estate in the years to come.
Restauranteurs were among the worst hit, with 110,000 restaurants (17 percent) closed permanently or long-term, as of December 2020 in the U.S. alone.
However, despite while things seemed bleak, some entrepreneurs put on their thinking caps and came up with creative solutions to their problems. Tony Robbins said it best when he said, “It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.” These have been trying times for all of us, one might even say they are, to borrow an expression from millennials, “Cray cray.”
Let’s take a look at some of the solutions entrepreneurs used to weather the Covid-19 storm.
#1 Delivery Macho
While many countries implement stringent lockdowns, Japan wasn’t one of them. Aside from one month in 2020, when the government asked companies to close, and more recently in 2021 with restaurants being told to close at 8 pm, Japan has remained relatively open allowing people to move between cities.
Delivery Macho, a sushi restaurant in central Japan was able to boost its languishing sales by having shirtless bodybuilders deliver food to its customers. The owner, Masanori Sugiura, a competition bodybuilder himself, recruited friends from fitness gyms who found themselves out of work.
As one might imagine, it caused quite a stir on the Twittersphere enabling him to earn approximately $10,000 a month.
#2 Dunn’s Food and Drink
A family-owned business in Scotland named Dunn’s Food and Drink had enjoyed 145 years in the hospitality sector only to see it come crashing down due to the pandemic. It lost 90% of its business practically overnight as it was ineligible for government support.
Jim Rowan and his team radically shifted gears and developed apps for drivers to assist with logistics and facilitate customers’ online orders in a matter of weeks, not months. They also applied their knowledge of drink dispensing to assist in developing hand sanitizing stations to assist with clients reopening their own businesses.
#3 Brooklyn Tea
Alfonso Wright and Jamila McGill, the duo behind Brooklyn Tea, located in New York, used social media to boost sales and introduce products during the pandemic. They even created what they call an “Immunity Box” which is a selection of herbal teas meant to boost people’s immune system and respiratory health. Considering all the stress and fear people had due to Covid, they were able to tap into people’s desire to improve their overall health and reduce stress.
Business-wise, I’d say that was a stroke of genius.
#4 Pot Gang
Sam Smith tapped into a grown trend during the pandemic namely that of people wanting to grow their own vegetables and flowers. He set up Pot Gang, a subscription service that sends out monthly boxes containing a variety of seeds along with everything people needed to grow them. Legendary copywriter Gary Halbert liked to tell his students “a starving crowd” is the single most valuable advantage you can have. Smith was able to find a crowd during the pandemic that will likely grow as more people enjoy the benefits of their home-grown plants and vegetables.
#5 Feast It
Pre-Covid, Feast It catered to weddings and birthday parties mainly for caterers, photographers, and florists. But when Covid hit, the industry shut down almost overnight. Founders Digby Vollrath and Hugo Campbell pivoted to offer virtual events such as pizza-making classes, cocktail mixing classes and even wreath-making experiences.
Even as England emerges from their latest restrictions, they have no intention of turning away from these virtual opportunities as according to a survey 54% of people will miss certain aspects of the lockdowns such as family time and staying at home. According to Campbell, “It feels like that shift to a much more remote culture is going to stick.”
My goal as a productivity consultant is to help clients “get their desired results with less effort in less time” through the application of technology and resources available to them. The pandemic proved to be incredibly challenging for businesses and individuals alike, but as these entrepreneurs show us, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, with a little creativity, we can even flourish.