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Small Businesses Should Pivot to Survive Another COVID-19 Lockdown

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, if countries are not careful, a second wave of infection more severe than the first is inevitable.

France, Italy, the United Kingdom — places that seemingly had the virus under control after their first bout with the deadly disease — are again retreating back indoors and imposing a lockdown due to large surges of new cases and deaths every day.

The United States, meanwhile, has seen a steady rise in infection since the pandemic was announced back in March. As the total number of Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 reaches 12 million, the highest in the world, states mull over a second lockdown to slow down the spread of the disease and prevent the healthcare system from collapsing.

Small Businesses Barely Survived the First COVID-19 Wave

The first round of restrictions created in order to flatten the curve was brutal. Countless businesses all over the country had to shut their doors. Many of these businesses will never reopen again, even after the pandemic.

Businesses survived the first wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. through government subsidies, by taking out loans, and by finding new ways to offer their products and services to consumers. During the first months of the pandemic, online shopping and curbside pickups became the norm.

Will Businesses Survive a Second COVID-19 Wave?

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A second lockdown will be a more difficult challenge for entrepreneurs. Those who survived the first wave of infections continued to struggle even after the restrictions were lifted. In order to survive, there are a few possible options. The first is to take out a loan from a (Small Business Administration) SBA lender. A bit of financial support will help the business stay afloat for a couple of months without letting go of staff or support a new strategy to earn a profit despite the lockdown.

The other option is to pivot. Now that the old ways are no longer working due to the global economic and public health situation, entrepreneurs have to adapt. It would not be easy, but it might just be the only way your business will survive the pandemic.

Here are three things you need to do in order to successfully pivot.

Listen to What Your Customers Want

You do not have to look far in order to deliver products and services that would entice consumers. All you have to do is to listen to what your customers are looking for and you can develop a strategy that will keep your business afloat for the rest of the year and maybe even after the pandemic.

So, a small business that sets itself apart by offering consumers a unique in-store experience will find itself reeling because of shelter-in-place orders. The solution is to recreate the same unique experience but, this time, online.

This might also include creating a sub-brand. If your consumers do not currently need your products and services, your business can continue earning by offering something else.

A second brand will allow you to venture toward products and services that are not at all relevant to what your business originally sold. A massage place can, for example, start their own line of essential oils for skincare and aromatherapy.

The goal is to have a new model that will remain profitable despite the global crisis.

Change from Within

The old ways may not be applicable in your new venture when you pivot. Before you re-launch, you are going to have to make changes from within.

Start by realigning your resources. The beauty of pivoting instead of starting from the beginning is you already have the things you need. All you need to do is to reorganize things so that you will be able to utilize the same resources for different purposes.

The same applies to people. You know your staff and their strengths.

Create Unexpected Collaborations

Right now, most small businesses are struggling to survive. In the meantime, you can forget about competition and help each other out by pooling your resources together to offer something unique to consumers.

For example, a local craft brewery can design its own monthly subscription box for its loyal customers. They might partner and share profits with other breweries or restaurants. It is an ingenious idea that promotes and supports local businesses. Customers get to sample products from different brands and the project can keep all businesses afloat during the lockdown.

A second round of restrictions is bound to hit many states as new cases continue to rise every day. Without a vaccine or an effective treatment, no one knows exactly when things will go back to normal. Small businesses around the country need to adapt before they close their doors for good.

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