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  • Shelly Bell

3 Ways Businesses Pivoted during COVID to Stay Profitable


It’s a sobering statistic that 60% of Black businesses that were on their hustle in March 2020 have had to close up shop a year later. But the story isn’t all bad news — many businesses were creative and nimble enough to make pivots during the pandemic that not only helped them weather the storm, but added to their offer in ways that can be permanent once the country reopens.


First, I want to acknowledge that there are some businesses where essential in-person contact or travel components meant that a realistic pivot to make it through the pandemic didn’t exist. However, these founders are no less worthy of our (our = me, you, consumers, and policymakers!) support to thrive post COVID-19.


Here are 3 (of course there are more!) creative ways that I’ve seen businesses pivot to success during the pandemic:


  1. Turn your product or service into an EXPERIENCE — Thankfully, restaurant delivery during the pandemic helped many restaurants and food vendors keep their business going, but unfortunately, without a lot of the profit which comes from in-person dining and catering. How did some businesses make up the difference? They sold the experience around the meal or product their customers craved. They didn’t just sell that great take out meal, they dressed it up with a theme and extras — like a bottle of wine or all the accoutrements to make the meal feel special at home or a spices kit and cooking class where consumers could be adventurous to try your favorite dish on their own. Have a heath and beauty product? A Zoom session with groups of loyal customers to experience the products together (virtually) can help make up for that in-store traffic.


  1. Remodel your online store and presence — For many businesses, their online offerings mirror what consumers can get in-person but are often a reflection of primary sales and not the main driver of business. The pandemic provided an opportunity to “clean up” and expand the online stores and presences to not only serve clients during the pandemic but keep them as loyal online customers for the long haul. This pivot also includes making sure your social media presence matches the excellence you offer in-person (something many entrepreneurs neglect!)


  1. Make the world your shop — The pandemic has reinforced one of the most important rules of business: go where your clients are! Many successful businesses (especially those who are service-oriented) were able to reach their clientele in COVID-safe ways like holding yoga and fitness classes outside in areas central to their clients. Other businesses joined forces and held socially distanced pop-up shops in parking lots where customers could (almost) feel like they were back at the mall. It really gives a new meaning to location, location, location!


Remember: it’s never too late to reexamine the way you provide your product or service to your clients and find ways where a pivot can turn into profit. And the 3 ways I’ve highlighted are a great place to start for your current business or future venture!

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