Covering Local Small Business Pivots

by May 1, 2020
As demand for some non-essential goods have plummeted, some businesses have shifted to making masks or other PPE. Photo of face masks by Vera Davidova via Unsplash.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small businesses to rethink their business models. For some, that means moving their services online or switching to curbside pickup or delivery only. For others, that means manufacturing a totally new product. 

Here’s how to localize this trend. 

Small businesses moving online 

Many businesses that provide services in person—yoga studios, tutoring companies, music teachers—have abruptly shifted to an online service model. Who in your area has successfully made this transition? What tools are they using to deliver services and what other businessowners learn from them? Are they now reaching customers outside of their geographic area or is it mainly customers they’ve worked with in person? What challenges have they encountered?

Small business switching to curbside

When many cities and states ordered non-essential businesses to close, many restaurants shifted to takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery only. As some states prepare to reopen, some retailers will now operate under this model. What changes have they made operationally to fit this new model? What safety precautions are they taking to protect staff? How much demand are they seeing and what are the staffing needs? 

Small businesses making PPE

With many cities and states mandating that only essential businesses remain open, some businesses have pivoted to manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, counter guards, intubation boxes, or hand sanitizer. This allows them to continue operating as an essential business while serving the greater good and producing products that are in high demand. Who in your area is doing this? Has this enabled them to continue paying employees or even hire additional staff? What safety precautions are they taking? Have then run into any supply chain issues in sourcing materials? Are they donating PPE to hospitals, selling it to consumers, or doing a combination of both? 

Reporter’s takeaway

Locals may be talking about these businesses on Nextdoor or Yelp, so those could be a good place to find leads. Your local chamber of commerce may also have leads on what’s happening in your local business scene.