The Digital Arena Can Save Your Business

Digital Business

The recent pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down. For many businesses, this has translated into a big loss of profit, if not bankruptcy. How many businesses have you heard of that have closed their doors since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? Let meus sharetell you some numbers with you… only within the first month or two of the pandemic, more than 3 million businesses in the US stopped their operations. A large number of these businesses did recover due to government support. However, around 200,000 of them have remained permanently closed one year after the pandemic started.

Both product and service-focused industries have been affected. But while so many have struggled, many other businesses have found ways to survive and even thrive by pivoting to an online model. Instead of waiting for clients to come back to them, these businesses have found ways to bring their current or new services to potential clients. We’re not just talking about virtual meetings or online sales. We’re talking about lateral business moves that better fit the changing needs of their current target markets. 

Let’s look at examples of digital pivots in 5 different industries, which ended up saving service-based businesses from bankruptcy.

  1. Party and event planners

The skills, systems, and expertise required to organize events and plan out logistics are easily transferable to many other fields. Many event planning companies picked one or two of those and switched their entire business focus on them. For example, some companies like Pierpont Place in Salt Lake City have decided to offer flower and balloon arrangements, both on-site and for delivery. They have decorated private wedding and graduation venues, as well as corporate yards and lawns. Some of them, like Studio 539 from Rhode Island, have focused on creating minimal events, such as intimate, special moments for couples to help them spice up their relationship while being stuck at home. 

The team at another company, MediaCutlet, decided to take a different route and help schools and businesses create lessons and training seminars. They took care of recordings, sending out virtual invitations, and backend support for all their online events. Other companies focused on crisis management, helping put together risk assessment plans and feasibility studies.

  1. Traveling and hospitality

With a lot of the workforce moving to remote work, many found themselves needing a temporary space every once in a while to have meetings and just focus in a quiet environment. That is why hotels flocked to sites like Dayuse where both locals and travelers could rent a room for only a few hours during the day. Airbnb switched to offering their clients the ability to go on virtual tours and sign up for international experiences, like cooking classes, songwriting, or art therapy.

Airlines were among the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic. However, some of them like Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, or United Airlines, responded quickly by focusing on flying commercial cargo instead of people. They focused particularly on high-demand, essential products like sanitizers and masks, with only a few other discretionary items.

  1. Lawyers, teachers, and trainers

The biggest move for educational or knowledge-based businesses has been digital products, coaching, and consulting. They either created online guides, ebooks, and courses, or used their knowledge to help people more directly with their challenges. From mental health to investing to divorce navigation, they penetrated the smallest niches of most industries.

One unique example is Lisa McCabe from San Diego. She took her dance studio to the online world and focused on mother-daughter virtual dance classes. She wasn’t just teaching dance; she was showing parents how to make use of this newly found time and bond with their children. From there, she built up her service offerings by including more and more children’s lessons and fun virtual events that would keep kids entertained and give parents some free time.

  1. Health and wellbeing

Acupuncturists, yogis, fitness trainers, and other wellness professionals took to the DIY market. They combined online classes with DIY kits, for more hands-on audiences, and created unique programs for all kinds of needs. Some of them entered strategic partnerships with product-based businesses, like essential oils or skincare, and merged their audiences for an even bigger impact.

A few of these companies continued to incorporate several in-person events into their business while maintaining proper social distancing. For example, some had outdoor events like park workout sessions in plastic domes or at safe distances, individual but concurrent televised marathons, or fundraising/awareness campaigns for various causes. Box ‘N Burn in Los Angeles simply moved all their equipment outdoors and continued to offer boxing classes as usual, while keeping safety measures in mind.

  1. Software development and IT solutions

While IT-centered companies didn’t struggle as much as other businesses, they still found ways to change up their operations and make up for some of the lost profits. They directed part of their focus on helping those other businesses to pivot by implementing new digital systems and strategies. 

For example, BMC Software helped their clients with remote work setups, dispersed teams, digital transformation of operations, new global markets, and more. In the same line of thought, Cvent helped event planners rebuild their events online by executing all the digital logistics necessary.

These are not the only successful types of pivots we’ve seen. Others like drive-in/boat-in movies instead of cinemas, or music streaming companies like Spotify incorporating podcast streaming are worth mentioning as well. Perhaps we do not have enough time or space to mention all the innovative uses of resources and skills that so many companies have come up with during this timeframe, but we do want to show that it is possible to survive with just a bit of creativity and an openness to the digital arena.

We have helped a lot of service-based businesses pivot and ease into more digitally-driven operations. Even if you aren’t struggling, you can still benefit from this online shift and we can help you get there.

Feel free to message me to talk about your new digital adventure for your business.

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