Business In The Times Of Corona

By
Lucinda Sloane -

How to diversify in a drastically changed business environment

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the business climate and our social environment. What will the working world look like in one-two-three weeks/months/years’ time? Nobody knows. And it’s not in our control.

What is in our control, however, is our reaction to a constantly changing and increasingly volatile business environment.  

This is undoubtedly a worrying time, particularly for small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers. But one of the many benefits of being a small business is your agility. You have the ability to flex and adjust, and to do so at speed.  

This is not a time for panic. This is a time for action.

So, how do small businesses diversify?

Making services and products digital or deliverable

Many businesses will already have a digital presence – social media accounts, a YouTube channel or a website – and many services can be offered and fulfilled as effectively online as they can in person.

Even for those businesses that are based on one-to-one relationships – such as therapists, life coaches and business consultants – there is an abundance of video calling software and apps available; from straightforward conferencing calling via Skype and Zoom to file sharing and real-time document editing through more sophisticated collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams.

Another option is to make services and products deliverable. As the saying goes, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go a safe two-metre distance from the mountain”.

Independent restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries and breweries in particular have embraced this by offering options for delivery, all of which can be paid for upfront; bringing haute cuisine, artisan breads, local brews and even your favourite Sunday brunch to your doorstep.

Making your business instructional or educational

Etsy has seen independent crafters selling patterns and instructions for gifts, clothing, ornaments, accessories, furniture and more since 2005. As well as (or indeed, instead of) selling a physical product online, why not sell your technical know-how and expertise? By producing an online instructional guide or manual, you remove the outlay for materials and instead enable people to recreate your unique design at home.

Webinars and educational videos are another effective way to sell your expertise remotely. Gyms and personal trainers can continue to offer membership value through exclusive home workouts, live-streamed classes and nutrition plans. Meanwhile, music, dance and art teachers can create online classrooms to continue to run courses. Indeed, we here at MENTA are continuing to offer our Start Right programme to budding entrepreneurs and new business owners through live-streamed lessons.

Repurpose skills or upskill

Diversifying your business may mean adjusting your offering altogether. In which case, you’re going to need to learn some new skills or hone your skills to be repurposed. This is the time to do so.

Similarly, take advantage of this slower pace of work to upskill. Whether business strategy, bookkeeping and forecasting, touch typing, digital marketing, social media, graphic design, web design, photography or videography, there is an online course for a skill that will benefit your business and help you to maintain competitive advantage.

If you’d like to discuss diversifying your business, our MENTA experts offer one-to-one advice via Whats App, Face Time, Skype or phone. Email 121@menta.org.uk to find out more and book your remote session. And keep an eye out for more from our “Business in the times of Corona” blog series for further practical business advice.

Meet the author linkedin.com/in/lucinda-sloane

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