Entrepreneurs share their pandemic strategies to stay in business

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to touch all corners of the world, businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. Many have been forced to close their doors, and others forced to pivot or even change their business model entirely.

Reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have documented the devastating impact of economic uncertainty. More than half (56%) experienced a decrease in demand for their products or services, while 19% were forced to close due to government-mandated restrictions; almost 72 million workers were employed at establishments that discontinued operations.

As someone who works in the live event space and consults for many brick-and-mortar businesses, I’ve seen, firsthand, how the pandemic has decimated our industry. My marketing agency, like many others, had to pivot to survive and think outside the box of our normal service offering.

Using digitization as a way to build relationships

The pandemic forced businesses to digitize in order to stay afloat. For some, this meant setting up an online store for the first time. For others, it meant moving their entire in-person operation to a virtual space. Embracing technology has been a key survival strategy for businesses during the pandemic–and it’s allowed many to reach a wider audience and continue operating despite the restrictions.

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

Many businesses have turned to virtual platforms and distance-friendly services in order to continue operating. This has been a huge adjustment for many businesses, but it’s one that has been necessary in order to survive.

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 been offered digital versus in-person services.” However, as the pandemic progressed, it became abundantly clear the sheer number of businesses that were going to need to digitally transform and provide an online-first experience for their customers. “This led to new innovations across our platform,” Chelly says. “We opened a number of new categories to support digital transformation, including one that allowed talent to provide online lessons to clients instead of in person.”

Show customers value

Businesses that have been able to continue to provide value have been the ones that have been able to not only survive but also thrive during the pandemic. Instead of working in the event space, we pivoted to designing and selling hundreds of masks for my online store digitally until business on the agency side picked up again. This was something that I never would have thought of before the pandemic, but it ended up being a lifesaver for my business.

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