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COVID-19: A Delay or an Acceleration? That is the Question!

Posted by Paula Parisotto on

You might be feeling like life ground to a screeching halt in March when COVID-19’s sweep across the US and stay in place orders found us at home for weeks on end. While life may have slowed down, you know what has sped up? Online shopping! 

COVID-19 forces businesses to change, delay or accelerate.

One of the world’s favorite pick-me-ups, retail therapy, is at an all-time high. Not surprisingly, groceries are the number 1, and alcohol is holding strong in the number 2 spot. A quick google search revealed that at-home office essentials are also doing well in sales (high fives to Best Buy, Office Depot, and The Container Store!) but non-essential retailers like myself are suffering a bit.

I mean, I could make a pretty solid case for cork’s washability and natural antimicrobial properties (more intriguing than ever, right?).

Or I could tell you about how my Lee belts are adjustable so you can be confident that your Tiger King binge-fest and quarantine snack sesh can be enjoyed in adaptable comfort.

And GiGi, well, pair her with the long adjustable leather strap and she makes a stylish flask fanny pack for those long distance trips from your bedroom to the bathroom and back...so maybe, just maybe, cork IS an essential service....

But until I can get the government on board with cork being essential, I have taken notice of all of the innovative ways business owners are adjusting to our current (or is it our new?) norm. I recently heard a radio interview that highlighted the numerous ways artists are pivoting to keep their art seen, and their revenue flowing. For instance, musicians who faced canceled concerts offered up online concerts for free and requested just a small tip via Venmo. Artists moved their exhibits online, selling their pieces through freshly created websites. Theater and dance companies taped openings and performances offering them online for a small fee. Pivots created out of necessity born from the need to stay in business, pay employees, feed families or pay rent. I am inspired by their ability to adapt their typically in-person experience to something that was accessible to all regardless of distance (social or otherwise!)

Later that same day, I attended a Pinterest webinar where Jodi from Quay Glasses, shared that they, like any growth-minded business (mine included), had big marketing plans in place when this “Plot Twist” hit. I’m no newbie when it comes to business pivots , but can we just call this virus what it really is? A Plot TORNADO! And just like the winds that come with it, Quay Glasses decided this wasn’t actually a delay, but rather an acceleration of their plans.

Just think about it...we have seen businesses across the world change their way of selling to adjust to the new way of life introduced by COVID-19. What if these changes we see being made by so many small businesses were already in the cards? Either consciously or unconsciously...but this twister of a virus just blew it into being sooner. This acceleration created by COVID-19 might be forced, but is bringing about creative change, new skills and many think outside the box business aren’t just surviving, they are thriving!

Here are just a few small businesses who acted LARGE and made an impression on me with their acceleration!

  • Makeshift Makers Market - More than just a market, they’re a movement doing big things for small businesses, including mine. When all of their maker’s events canceled, depleting their income and a portion of (and for many, all) of their maker’s income, they quickly launched a social media campaign and online purchasing platform in place of each of their canceled events. This pivot provided a platform for us to continue to sell while establishing them as a trustworthy partner now and in the future.
  • Smith’s All Natural - A small family-run business out of Maine handcrafting leather balm, perfect for the leather details of my cork collection. When sales for their leather balm began to suffer, they thought, “Hmmm! People’s hands are likely dry from all this extra washing, so let’s make tins of hand and body balm.” The response was well received and their sales are booming. A new niche for their company while meeting an immediate need in the market. Bravo!
  • The Sculpted Vegan - When gyms closed a few weeks prior to Kim’s annual 18-month gym program, she and her team developed an at-home workout program utilizing minimal equipment...for FREE! What??? But she soon learned that many people had zero home equipment and/or no resources to acquire it so she developed a no equipment required small fee-based program, and she included $13,000 in cash prizes. Talk about a double pivot and some serious credibility in the industry!

I have always said, “Just like tacos and tequila, We’re Better Together!” I now more than ever believe that to be true! Here’s to thriving businesses, a flourishing planet, and people growing, even in the midst of a storm!

Be well,

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