How have small businesses rapidly re-invented themselves during the pandemic?

One year after the start of the pandemic, there is evidence of businesses improving their resilience by rapidly re-inventing, transforming and incorporating digital in their relationships with customers, staff and in the development of new products.

Business model transformation was key, focused on 5 different areas:

(1) Customer needs changed during the pandemic. Resilient businesses accommodated those needs by incorporating digital options. One small business provided webinars on makeup and facilitated the purchase of products via Facebook and WhatsApp with home deliveries. Another created mental health care webinars to support customers. Both these businesses had only previously provided services face to face with their customers.

(2) Partnerships and collaborations are seen between small businesses in diverse industries. A completely new platform “lekka” was created enabling disenfranchised small businesses to sell their products online.

(3) The value chain of many small businesses was disrupted by the pandemic and owners had to adapt. Restaurants became temporary take-aways maintaining staff and customer relationships, allowing orders to be placed through Facebook and WhatsApp with some waitrons becoming packers and others delivery personnel.

(4) Retailers changed their sale and delivery models, collaborating with remote customers to create an online store. Allowing for ‘buy online and pick up instore’ as well as incorporating home deliveries of medicines to elderly clients. Software companies added cloud-based options facilitating migration and adjusting payment plans so businesses could mitigate the financial strain of the pandemic.

(5) Most small businesses adapted their product lines to their customers changed needs with some bringing in new lines such as sanitising stations and masks to help them cope with the reduction in sales of other products.

These digital transformations focused on the changing customer requirements and staff safety and resulted in the launching of new product lines and online services and in adapting the sales and service models to improving customer experience.

How did your business change during the pandemic? Please add your experiences in the comments below.