Three Business Pivots That Survived The Pandemic And Are Here To Stay


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, business owners battled to stay afloat by pivoting. For many, this was intended to be a temporary measure until an easing of restrictions would allow them to return to business as usual. But for some, pivoting created additional revenue streams that have continued to flow alongside their main business.

The virtual picture

Before the pandemic, photographer Paul David Smith worked as a wedding and portrait photographer, but within a week of the first lockdown, he had lost more than 20 wedding bookings and a huge amount of revenue. He had to pivot, fast, and his solution meant taking a huge gamble.

On realizing that almost every commercial building in the country was now standing empty, he spent several thousand pounds on a 360-degree camera to start creating virtual tours of these buildings that wouldn’t normally be possible due to heavy footfall.

He says: “I started by creating a tour of my house; it was the only building I had access to at the time and I had to be able to demonstrate the tours. I emailed my virtual house tour to hundreds of businesses in my city, with the USP that they might never get another opportunity to have their building empty for long enough to create a tour.”

It worked, and Smith went on to create virtual tours for cathedrals, universities, shops, hotels and businesses that spotted the opportunity to do something productive while they were closed to the public.

When lockdown restrictions eased and weddings were once again taking place he was able to return to his core business of wedding and portrait photography. However, the virtual tour business had become too successful to put to one side.

“Weddings are mainly weekend events, while weekends are the busiest time for most businesses, so the two sides of the business work well together,” says Smith. “I took a calculated risk that eventually saved my entire business and two years on accounts for over 50% of our overall revenue.”

A digital solution to social isolation

Launched in January 2020, Mirthy aimed to tackle loneliness and social isolation in retirement by opening up underutilized communal spaces in retirement homes for older adults in the local community. After a successful pilot launch with McCarthy & Stone, the U.K.’s largest retirement housing builder, the pandemic struck, sending retirement homes went into lockdown and putting Mirthy’s plans on hold.

CEO Alex Ramamurthy says: “After a week of sulking, my cofounder and I decided we needed to pivot. Lockdown enabled us to bring our events to McCarthy Stone’s homeowners online, directly through their devices.”

The founders persuaded a cohort of their public speakers to create recordings of their talks and lectures and make them available to Mirthy to share with an online audience through webinar tools. “By the end of March, we had convinced McCarthy Stone to pay us to make this new service available to all 20,000 homeowners, which resulted in significantly higher reach and revenue from the original pilot,” says Ramamurthy.

Ultimately, the pivot proved to be the best thing to happen to the business. Mirthy has had over 200,000 registrations for its events and has supported over 50,000 people; a scale that the business would never have been able to achieve in the same timeframe via in-person events. The technical literacy of the people using the service has also improved, which offers new opportunities for Mirthy as the business scales.

Although the focus will remain on building an online platform, Mirthy plans to run some in-person events as restrictions continue to ease. “Online events are a great way for our members to discover, learn and connect with others, but we know they are also craving real life social connections where they can meet in-person,” says Ramamurthy.

Pies by post

When Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory had to close its restaurant and pub in Tipton during lockdown, the business launched a postal service to ensure that pie fans could still get their hands on their famous Black Country fayre, and keep the brand name alive.

The delivery service covers the whole of the mainland U.K., with a particular interest from customers in Scotland. As owner Peter Towler explains, the biggest challenge of the pivot was getting the packaging right and bringing the service to market.

He says: “We had to design the packaging and find a method of delivery that wouldn’t compromise the quality of our pies. We started off advertising the service through our Facebook page and when that proved successful we developed a dedicated web page to offer online sales.”

The restaurant has since reopened, however, the postal service has been so popular that the plan is to continue running both business models simultaneously. From a production perceptive, the restaurant’s production kitchen and a team of skilled chefs have ample capacity for the extra demands from postal customers, and also ensures that the quality of the produce remains consistent wherever customers are buying from.

“Pies by post is a concept that we believe in,” says Towler. “Not only is it an effective way of marketing our brand nationally, but it’s also allowed us to reach Mad O’Rourke’s fans wherever they are in the country.”

.



Source link

Leave a Comment