We were recently interviewed for an article relating to small businesses that were able to successfully pivot during COVID to achieve continued growth. While faced with adversity and a lack of clarity moving forward, we were able to make some critical changes to our business model that have allowed us to grow throughout the pandemic. I have highlighted some of the key takeaways below and hope these insights can help any individual or small business that may be struggling with the impact of this terrible pandemic.
What challenges has your business faced, and how did you pivot
or change strategy to keep moving forward?
The most notable challenge our small business has faced during the pandemic is the abrupt loss of nearly 50 wholesale accounts. Prior to the pandemic, our entire focus was gaining placement in retail stores and obtaining new wholesale customers. We had developed a successful strategy for doing so and had grown our wholesale accounts from a handful to just under 50 in a few short months.
When all of these accounts were then closed simultaneously, we realized we needed to pivot from B2B and shift our focus entirely on D2C sales in order to maintain our growth. Our first initiative was to increase website traffic. We accomplished this by designing and making unique facemasks, and placing them on our website for free. Within 24 hours, we had over 300 orders (a lot of work considering they are all handmade), but more importantly within that 24 hours we had over 600 unique website visitors.
Generating this new web traffic was crucial, and leveraging various social media marketing techniques to convert a percentage of these visitors into product sales was vital to the success of our small business.
What lessons did you learn along the way?
Literally speaking, we had to learn new social media marketing techniques to leverage our newly generated web traffic. Our previous approach was building direct relationships to build wholesale accounts. Overnight, we had to adapt and learn successful e-commerce and social media marketing strategies.
However, the most important strategy we learned was the benefit and opportunity that can be achieved through an initial sacrifice. After personally hand crafting over 300 masks (and now a total of over 800), we were tired, stressed, sore, and deflated. However, the result of that sacrifice is our small business not only sustaining, but growing during this otherwise terrible time.
What advice do you have for another business who might be
My biggest advice is don't be afraid to think outside the box. There is always a way to grow and a way to succeed. Sometimes it might not be written on the wall, and other times it may take some initial failure in order to break through. However, you only really lose when you give up. Everything else is learning, building, and growing.
We hope that sharing our business pivot during this pandemic can help others find an idea or solution the barriers they may be facing in their business and personal lives.