FINDING A NEW PATH

by Trevor Lee

One company I work with built their whole business model on getting people together–in large groups. Two months ago the company was gaining traction and the future looked bright. Then Covid-19 hit. In the span of a week they went from having traction and momentum to having a business model that was irrelevant.

In the span of a week they went from having traction and momentum to having a business model that was irrelevant.

There were two important things that company didn’t do.

First, they didn’t complain. They did acknowledge what a huge blow it was and voice frustration and disappointment over the loss of momentum that had been built up, but they didn’t complain. Second, they didn’t give up. It would have been easy to look at the reality, toss up their hands, and sit back while the ship sank. But they didn’t.

Here are three things they did that are leading them to a hopeful future despite the odds.

They dealt with reality.

There was a short time at the beginning when many people hoped the virus would pass quickly and everything would go back to normal, but within a week it was becoming clear this would not be the case. They didn’t bury their head in the sand and ignore the clear signs that the world, and their industry, would change. They also didn’t overreact. A huge key to that was instead of running around freaking out that the sky was falling they chose to focus on the customer.

They focused on the customer.

The changes that came with Covid-19 were a huge hit to the company, but they were also a huge hit to the company’s customers. They chose to focus on their customers and their needs instead of their own. They reached out to customers to see what they were facing. They asked good questions. They listened well. And that allowed them to get creative, fast.

They reached out to customers to see what they were facing. They asked good questions. They listened well. And that allowed them to get creative, fast.

They got creative, fast.

By dealing with the reality that things were not going back to normal and by listening to their customers they were able to start innovating in ways that would resonate in the market. In a matter of a couple weeks this company that was built on getting large groups together was offering key products that were meant for online engagement. They stayed true to their mission and their values, but they radically redesigned their products and delivery in a very short period of time. Of course this is a process, they are building out their product offerings and fine-tuning their delivery daily, but they are gaining momentum again, barely a month and a half since their original strategy was rendered useless.

They stayed true to their mission and their values, but they radically redesigned their products and delivery in a very short period of time.

Clearly there are some industries and some businesses where making these radical changes is harder than others. With some it will be impossible. But for some businesses that are willing to listen well and get creative fast, there can still be significant opportunities.