Still operating a Business during a Pandemic and Pivoting your Business Model

We are in uncharted waters during the #COVID19, the world has slowed to an almost halt. Governments are trying to support and keep people and businesses a float yet seemingly the support is difficult to qualify for and the rules hard to keep up with.

We have been luckily been categorized as an essential service and good for our clients that had projects in flight but many changes to our sites have had to take place and we are actually grateful for those changes that we will likely keep in place long after the Pandemic is over. The safety of our clients and sub-trades are at the upmost importance to us but business slowed and for good reason. We wanted to try and keep as many working if we could as like I said they are subcontractors and CREB Relief wasn't an option at the time for most. So what to do? I asked myself that question about a thousand times before making a couple critical pivots in our business to stay open.

First I asked myself a few questions and brainstormed ideas with my partner.

1. What are people looking for during this time?

2. How can we fill this gap in the market?

3. How can we make people feel safe?

4. Can we make this change and still keep current projects moving forward?

5. Could we go online and how would that work?

6. Is there a profit in this new venture?

7. Is there a marketing opportunity for your existing company with this pivot?

8. Will you need to hire anyone to do this?

So after lots of thought, we came up with a viable solution to our problem. Please keep in mind this pivot was made quickly given the circumstances and normally you might go about making a pivot in your business with a little more thought and analysis before jumping head long into a new side of your business that could cost you more than it is worth.

So let me walk you through this for us and what we did. We run an Interior Design and Renovations Company with our main focus in Interiors, Expansions, Remodels, Basements, Kitchens, Bathrooms and so on. We are good at building things, so we did not want to venture to far from our business model but far enough that if and when we decided to not run this portion of the business later, it wouldn't hurt us.

We also realized that given the messaging from the government that people would likely be spending most of their time in their yards this summer so we created a high quality garden box and a potato box at a very affordable price which was fast and easy for us to make.

Branding Iron to Stamp Boxes

Once the design was done I launched it on a shop local group on Facebook and on our Instagram page and It worked!! We have sold many standard boxes but a lot of custom garden boxes that have a larger profit margin. This has led us to a future passive income stream for a design and cut sheet for the boxes to be sold online for the DIYer. This new line of business also allows us a different level of exposure to potential clients for future home renovations, with every box sold we access a new clientele that learns about our business so that when they are ready to do their renovation, we will be on their list of potential bidders.

Standard Cedar Garden

Garden Potato Box

Our business will now take on an additional new line of business in decks, fences and other outdoor structures this summer this where we started many years ago and now we will bring that line of business back on line for the time being.

This is just a snap shot of how we made a pivot in our business during a crisis and I do believe that any business can pivot to survive even if its temporary. We are seeing this in many sectors including the manufacturing sector that is now making medical equipment instead of the normal products they were producing. If you are struggling with this idea of pivoting in business; not sure where to start reach out to other business owners that have done this and start bouncing ideas off each other. We are truly more than ever before in this together.

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