When the situation changes, and a business finds that suddenly its old business models no longer work, the successful ones will innovate and adapt to the situation around it. In many aspects, this is the definition of an innovative business and highlights the skillset of a successful entrepreneur from those that are less successful. When the environment changes, it closes some lucrative avenues that were open to the company, but (if you look hard enough) new ones present themselves.
During the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses big and small (and in a most sectors) have displayed this entrepreneurial streak showing the agility and nimbleness required to survive. Others, unfortunately, have not been able to change with the times and have found their businesses irreparably harmed. Some good examples of businesses that have adapted, usually out of necessity include:
- Companies who have switched production. Brewdog, who traditionally brew beer, turned their production lines over to the manufacture of hand sanitiser as the peak of the crisis Maybe less successfully Dyson announced that it would start making ventilators in its factories. Even small businesses have got into this game: in my home town a traditional Italian tailors has started to make designer bespoke face masks when their traditional tailoring business dried up
- Companies who make use of their distribution networks to adapt their offering. Companies who traditional sell medical equipment and / or other medical grade products used their distribution networks to source PPE and started distributing these items in addition, or sometimes to the exclusion of, their traditional product lines
- Companies changing their business model. Pubs started offering take away or delivery of alcohol and when restaurants were forced to close they started competing with takeaways often offering a premium, more expensive but better quality alternative.
- Companies developing new products for the new era. Playing to their strengths but very much adapting their offering and resources to the new situation Apple and Google developed a contact tracing app which is now being used by a number of governments around the world.
If you want to learn more about how to adapt in a crisis there are a number of good books out there that can give advice. Two of them have very similar titles and both are highly recommended.
Copyright © Ian Goodyer, 2020. Used with permission by Ideas Portal.