31 Inspiring Business Responses to COVID-19
It is the reaction to a crisis, not the crisis itself, which will determine the course of a business. Thankfully, the fact that we are all going through this together forces us into a global think tank to figure out solutions.
We have compiled a list of impact, strategy, contributions and advice from different businesses around the world in regards to COVID-19. We care about this mutual struggle and hope that the following business continuity plans will inspire you to come up with your own solutions.
1. Front Signs: Sign-Making and Printing for Businesses
“We couldn’t sit on the side-lines so we decided to take action and make a contribution.”
Impact: Loss of revenue, pause to regular production
Strategy: Switch production line to make face shields, work from home
Contribution: All proceeds go towards donations of face shields to hospitals in need of PPE
Advice: Offer solutions to get life back to normal as quickly as possible
There are practical solutions we can take to minimize the threat of infection. We are dealing with a life-threatening virus and anything that can offer protection against it is worth every penny, especially if it’s affordable. Face shields are designed to defend against the transmission of contaminated aerosols through the eyes and nose, and coupled with medical masks, they virtually eliminate the possibility of catching the coronavirus.
2. ThoughtSTEM/MetaCoders: Teaching coding to K-12
“Your employees will work twice as hard if they know they are working for a higher purpose.”
Impact: Schools shut down, business came to a halt
Strategy: Took the platform online
Contribution: Encourage kids to build CV-related solutions for households and neighborhoods
Advice: Pivot your business to help the fight and go all in on the mission
This crisis has the power to unite people to work together for a common goal. Studies show that working for a higher purpose helps boost innovation, focus, commitment, collaboration and productivity. Involving children and students in the process can also be extremely helpful because they will not only learn and prepare for the future but could also offer the next big solution.
3. Law Offices of Jezic & Moyse: Attorneys at Law
“We have contributed to the fight against this pandemic by offering reduced service rates to the healthcare workers fighting on the front lines.”
Impact: Offices closed
Strategy: Working remotely
Contribution: Reduced service rates to healthcare workers
Advice: Find a way to contribute with your services
Many companies are experiencing a reduction in the sales and demand for their products and services. It’s better to offer discounts to motivate clients to continue buying. At the end of the day, all businesses are needed if not essential so the only thing left to do is to make them more accessible to customers.
4. RushOrderTees: T-Shirt Printing
“In the t-shirt printing industry, we rely heavily on ecommerce for our revenue, so we were not hit quite as hard as some brick and mortar businesses.”
Impact: Decrease in sales revenue due to less customer spending and demand
Strategy: Shifting product line to make cloth face masks
Contribution: Making the product very affordable
Advice: Once you find how you can help customers, the rest will fall into place
Even online merchandising companies are taking a hit during this time. No business is immune to the economic effects of the pandemic. We must all focus our attention on solutions and offer our customers products that are relevant and valuable during this time. It is our responsibility as problem-solving entrepreneurs.
5. Medical Marketing Mayhem: Digital Marketing
“No government relief program, we’d rather leave those funds to people who need it. Not just take it for the sake of it.”
Impact: Many clients have paused or cancelled services
Strategy: Found a niche with medical clientele, stopped PPC ads
Contribution: Pitching to healthcare clients to increase their exposure
Advice: Suspend certain services to cut costs, leave gov funding to those who need it
Finding your niche and focusing on ways you can be of benefit in a specific way will ensure that your business is making the greatest impact without spreading resources too thin. This will help your employees as well and streamline productivity.
6. Indow: Window Inserts for Comfort, Quiet, Energy Efficiency
“...we are the first to offer a comprehensive, template COVID-19 response plan in an easy to use, fast to implement, and free system.”
Impact: Still in operation
Strategy: Reducing/removing contamination vectors from workplace
Contribution: Offer a comprehensive/free plan for operating safely
Advice: A good plan to keep workers safe will also boost morale and productivity
Whether it’s now or after the stay at home orders are lifted and businesses are reopened, a safety plan for the workplace is paramount. Safety signs as well as procedures for sanitation and regulations for best practices are going to be needed for some time.
7. Mind & Body Complete: Retreats and Coaching
“It is easy to get stuck in the muck of things; but don’t focus on 'what is lost' or 'what is wrong’ at this time. Focus on what is in your control...”
Impact: Postponed retreats and rescheduled sessions
Strategy: Virtual coaching sessions
Contribution: Virtual therapeutic services with donation options, supporting businesses, gifts
Advice: Find ways your business can support itself as well as the community
The silver lining to taking your services online is that they become available to a wider audience all over the globe. When Mind & Body Complete held their first online retreat for women, participants from 3 different countries and 12 different US states attended! The options for virtual services are limitless. They can be offered live, recorded, as part of subscriptions, monthly packages, etc and benefit exponentially more people.
8. DirectSuggest: Suggestion Box Software Application
“Thousands of employees are staying engaged and making innovative suggestions to do what’s necessary to prevent the virus from harming their daily operations.”
Impact: Services were already applicable to current crisis
Strategy: Manage, adapt and mitigate issues specific to COVID-19
Contribution: Offering a free 90-day trial to spread the level of impact
Advice: Listen to employee suggestions
We’ve gathered this compilation of different ideas from entrepreneurs and employees about how to respond to this crisis in the hopes that the readers may find inspiration and act on solutions. Two heads are better than one and in this case, we have heads from all over the world willing to collaborate in a virtual think tank. Finding solutions has never been more accessible. All we have to do is tap in and engage with one another.
9. SellMax: Nationwide Car Buying Service
“Right now is a tough time, but remember all your competitors are facing this as well.”
Impact: Not buying cars, boost to scrap metal market due to less manufacturing of new parts
Strategy: No contact vehicle pick-up for customers
Contribution: Donating to organizations in San Diego, goal of 40 local companies
Advice: Persevere, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, optimize your business
As Tony Robbins so succinctly notes, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” This is a great time to optimize your business. Getting ahead of the competition is an opportunity you can capitalize on simply by continuing to work your hardest. Just do it and don’t stop. Adjust, innovate, plan, fix, update, engage, network, market, solve, resolve, contribute, donate, maximize… whatever it takes, just keep going.
10. iHeartRaves: Curators of Print-Clothing and World Leaders in Festival Fashion
“Even when COVID-19 is gone, our masks will still be purchased and used by festival-goers to protect their faces from dirt, dust, wind, and sun while staying fashionable at the same time.”
Impact: Drop in regular sales, revenue loss
Strategy: Emergency savings fund, pivot to loungewear/lingerie, produce print face masks
Contribution: Donate one non-printed face mask to front lines for every print mask purchase
Advice: Pivot to keep your business afloat, the economy won’t stay shut down forever
Fashion may not be the first thing you’d want to think about during a lockdown but life will go on after Covid, so why not make the most of it. Face masks and protective shields are required for safety and whether we like it or not, they have to cover our faces. Making sure we get a good product, whether in terms of quality or aesthetic, will help to boost our mood and make lemonade out of the lemons we’ve been dealt. It just so happens that both are beneficial for health and may come in handy even after the pandemic.
11. TFT Pneumatic: Global Distributor of Industrial Tools
“So we have grown used to saving for the hard times, as our day to day operations require us to always have funds available. We can't go day by day.”
Impact: Team is working remotely
Strategy: Advance preparation
Contribution: Paying vendors on time and personal donations
Advice: Stay busy, optimistic, practical, informed and spend time with family
Businesses that naturally require advance preparation are experiencing the benefits thereof. It’s important to take this as a lesson and be ready for future situations that may arise. Having an emergency fund, back-up strategies to offer essential services, preparedness plans for cash-flow and virtual organizational tools should all be ready to go in case of a crisis, whether due to recession, health, or otherwise.
12. Northcentral University: Provider of Online Higher Education
“In emergency situations, it is important for the communication to be sent in a timely fashion but it's even more critical to ensure the message is accurate.”
Impact: Minimal due to the virtual nature of the program
Strategy: Work remotely, support to employees, access to communication and resources
Contribution: Student Relief Fund of $250K, resource for best practices in virtual organizations
Advice: Accurate information and communication are key
An interesting factor of this pandemic has been the mystery surrounding it. It’s source, prevalence, transmission vectors, mortality rate, cure, health measures, safety orders and especially their duration have been openly contested since the start of the outbreak. Though it’s important to react quickly, it’s even more important to respond appropriately. Making sure your research takes into account all sides of the issue is the only way to come to accurate conclusions and solutions.
13. JOOLA: Table Tennis Company
“The idea actually came from Lee's sister, Vivian, an anesthesiologist, who asked him to source protective masks for frontline healthcare professionals.”
Impact: Manufacturing connections in China came in handy
Strategy: Make and distribute high quality but inexpensive face masks
Contribution: Affordability, 600 thousand to 3 million masks available
Advice: Hoarding and price gouging by others can create a market demand for you
Listening to loved ones, customers, and anyone else willing to offer their opinion is a valuable way to get a feel for the pulse of the global market. Everyone is being affected in some way and oftentimes, it’s those closest to us that can offer solutions and inspiration for the larger world. Getting personal is the most genuine way we can connect with the mass population in order to find out their needs and provide the right products and services as entrepreneurs.
14. Party Dash: Kid Party Supply Company
“She is donating supplies to families in need during this crisis, in hopes that children with birthdays can still experience joy and some sense of normalcy.“
Impact: Industry profits down by 55%
Strategy: Charity, “Spread Joy” relief program
Contribution: Donating party supplies to families in need
Advice: Connectedness still needs to happen. Inspire others.
There are so many unfortunate side-effects to this situation, not the least of which is having to refrain children from their normal lives. This includes the inability to go outside, to playgrounds, schools, gatherings with friends, and even having to skip birthday parties. Whenever possible, we must do everything in our power to enable play. Kids need to stay active or Zoom calls won’t be the only things they disrupt. Shout out to Party Dash for allowing kids to experience joy during such troublesome days.
15. SuperHeroCorp: Full-Service Themed Apparel Retail Business
“Not only this, our employees have also shared a specific amount from their salaries to contribute to this good deed.”
Impact: Shortage of material and delays in shipment affecting manufacturing and supply chain
Strategy: Mandatory masks, gloves, temperature check thrice daily, sanitizing at entrance
Contribution: Virus protection kits to hospitals, grocery donations, product discounts
Advice: Adjust your mission to benefit the company and retain your valuable team
This situation is only temporary so it’s important to retain as much stability as possible in order to make going back to normal a smooth transition. It’s advisable to maintain good relationships with your team members, keep the cash flow steady, not fall behind on regular tasks, etc. Also be ready for the office-life post-coronavirus as it’s bound to be slightly more sterile than usual.
16. Meetanshi: Magento Development Company
“Our regular business is carried with the same enthusiasm and dedication, but from home.”
Impact: Switch to working from the safety of homes
Strategy: Maintain same dedication and enthusiasm as ever, discounts
Contribution: Helping businesses go online, donations to WHO, contactless delivery
Advice: Trust your employees, they’re a part of your team, also being affected by the crisis
We’re grateful for Meetanshi’s reminder that trusting your employees during this uncertain time is inspirational as well as necessary. Everyone’s going through similar challenges while working from home. No one wants to lose their job and will continue to do their best despite the difficulties that may arise outside the office. When leaders trust their employees, it is felt, appreciated and serves as a motivating factor that will contribute to productivity.
17. Mashvisor: Real Estate Data Analytics Company
“Our employees have been very understanding and cooperative as they continue to work from home during our regular business hours.”
Impact: No significant difference
Strategy: Work from home policy from all employees
Contribution: Provide real estate data analytics software to investors in the US housing market
Advice: Access to computers can enable business to be as close to normal as possible
Trusting employees is only made possible by the integrity of the employees themselves. Staff must also be understanding in light of the circumstance and maintain flexibility, professionalism, and a respectable work ethic. Businesses are experiencing unprecedented loss, which may mean shortening hours or wages of their workforce. As long as you’re not hit with layoffs, it’s good to stay grateful and hang in there until things can go back to normal.
18. Etia: Travel Related Education and Information
“Many journalists are eager to learn more about the effects of the virus on various related things.”
Impact: Financial loss, no new hires, canceled/stalled projects
Strategy: More work hours
Contribution: Replying and networking with other writers to increase awareness
Advice: Backlinks through blogging, content writing, replying have increased
Cross-linking, networking, blogging, content writing, and replying to other businesses’ questionnaires about the situation are a great way to stay engaged and connected. Support from other businesses is a vital part of any industry, especially now. We’re all doing our best to spread awareness on best practices we’ve adopted and other relevant information that may be of service. Since everything is happening so quickly, improvising is oftentimes our only option. The only way we can get better at it is by coming together and learning from each other.
19. Jam Paper & Envelope: Envelopes, Paper and Office Supplies in Every Color
“It is important we maintain business as usual, because as an e-commerce company, we serve our customers fully online and through delivery.”
Impact: Employees had to leave office and work remotely
Strategy: Daily updates, open communication with team members to maintain productivity
Contribution: Business as usual without missing a beat
Advice: Maintain safety but make sure customers are still being served
Business as usual might be a challenge but it’s the only option for certain brands. Not everyone is able to switch production and meet new market demands and that’s okay. However, everyone must do whatever they can to survive this pandemic. Even if it means working from home and having to work harder for less profit, there are ways to keep going. Stopping is not an option and this is a test to see who can endure. Thankfully, it’s only temporary so all we have to do is make it to the other side.
20. BrandCrowd: Online Logo Maker
“Entrepreneurs will be the solution to the economic impact of COVID-19, so don't give up!”
Impact: Dip in demand for logo design services
Strategy: 100% of staff are working from home, joined #openwestand movement
Contribution: Giving away free logos and offering free access to design tools
Advice: Don’t be afraid to seek government funding, get creative
We completely agree with the sentiment that entrepreneurs will be the solution to this crisis. Due to the nature of the virus, we may be months if not years away from a viable cure. Therefore, we predict that preventative measures, products and services will be of paramount aid and demand during the next phase of the situation once businesses open back up and travel restrictions are lifted. It is our responsibility and privilege as creative business people to do our job for a higher purpose and we are excited to see all the new market solutions.
21. Outbooks: End-to-End Accounts Outsourcing for Accountants, United Kingdom
“I would request [employer’s] to not layoff employees but rather ask for pay cuts if needed for them as a team, to sustain and grow.”
Impact: Work from home
Strategy: Offer CBIL guidance, forecasted cash flow and COVID impact statements
Contribution: Discounts to NHS and small business accountants
Advice: Empathize, support clients and push through
Circumstances are tough but there is no reason to overreact. Don’t file for bankruptcy or fire all your employees and call it quits if you’re not meeting your goals. Rather, cut back on costs and provide discounts. If it’s not possible to thrive, it’s better to survive than to give up. It’s only a matter of time before things get back to normal. Get through the discomfort by offering support to others, knowing that we are all going through this together.
22. Workstream: Recruiting and On-Boarding Software for Local Businesses
“If Coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that remote work is becoming increasingly important for the future of businesses.”
Impact: Economic impact
Strategy: Free immediate hiring service for essential businesses
Contribution: Compiling resources available to businesses, helping essential businesses
Advice: Build tools that help bring teams and projects into online space
If there’s anything we’ve learned from staying at home, it’s the power of the online community. Social networking, strictly business or anything in between has been the lifeblood of the economy during this crisis. If it wasn’t for the internet, most businesses wouldn’t make it. As we move forward, the strategies we’ve acquired for utilizing the online platform must advance beyond the necessity and into the cutting-edge.
23. Fantastic Services: Cleaning and Maintenance for Home, Office and Garden
“You have to lead through this and take action as those who stand still will not come back because when it opens again we will hit into the world's biggest recession ever seen, so be ready to change everything you do.“
Impact: Drop in clientele
Strategy: Antiviral Sanitation service, communal cleaning services for landlords
Contribution: Free cleaning and preferential rates for frontline NHS workers
Advice: Work harder than ever and be ready to change everything you do
The ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances is crucial now and it will be even more so once restrictions are lifted. After so much flux in commerce, things are bound to have a rocky start. Troubles are far from over so it’s advisable to implement strategies and practices that will keep your team motivated and your customers feeling that you can provide them with their needs. Leaders are needed now more than ever. Will you step up?
24. CJL Consulting: Niche Marketing for Restaurant, Hotel and Entertainment Chains
“We are working on solutions to provide nutrition-focused recipes and menus to the healthcare industry across the U.S.”
Impact: Drop in revenue
Strategy: Pivot focus towards nutrition and charity
Contribution: Free webinars, money donations to vulnerable kitchen, restaurant, and bar staff
Advice: Think outside the box, engage team members as leaders to generate solutions
Focus on nutrition is not in the conversation enough these days. People who are healthy are less likely to develop severe symptoms and it was Hippocrates, the father of medicine himself, who is quoted as saying that medicine should be our food and food should be our medicine. Encourage everyone you know, staff members included, to begin paying more attention towards health in general, two key factors of which include exercise and nutrition.
25. MonetizeMore: 8-Figure Ad Tech Company, a Google Certified Partner
“It may look like you're still profitable but running out of cash flow is the real reason businesses default.”
Impact: Slight decrease in revenue also related to seasonality
Strategy: Early pay for staff to prepare for pandemic, lenient sick leave policies
Contribution: Donations to Medellin, Colombia and charity for families in Philippines
Advice: Track your cash flow very closely
Cash flow is a huge factor in keeping your business running and it needs to be addressed. Of course most revenue streams are seeing huge cutbacks but it’s crucial to improvise and continue transactions. Keep your accounts active by leasing, offering discounts for early payment, conducting credit checks, improving your inventory, sending out timely invoices, using electronic payments and whatever else may be applicable to your business.
26. Hill & Ponton Law: Nationwide Veteran’s Disability Law Firm
“Advanced salaries and pro-rated benefits have helped the employees in financial terms to survive until the end of the pandemic.”
Impact: Work-from-home to avoid commute and reduce health risks from exposure
Strategy: Providing essentials to employees such as computers and hard-drives
Contribution: Advanced salaries and pro-rated benefits for employees
Advice: Don’t give the employees a hard time or any reason not to stay connected
Employees are the backbone of any organization. Their productively relies largely on their compensation and working conditions. If you treat employees fairly and they feel supported during this hardship, they will appreciate it not only now but even more so in the long run. Building a strong foundation with solid team members can be the reason a business will make it or break it in the end. A team you can rely on must also be able to rely on you.
27. Chargebacks911: Fintech Industry, Risk Mitigation for Online Merchants
“Our actions and how we treat one another will be remembered long after this crisis ends.”
Impact: Work from home
Strategy: Distribute laptops, utilize VPNs, coordinating remote access across secure devices
Contribution: Donations to families, medical professionals and relief programs
Advice: We’re all human, empathy towards individual household circumstances
This is a time for all businesses to live up to their core values and build up reputation. We will get through this pandemic and once we’re on the other side, people are going to remember how each business responded. Were they there for their customers? How did they contribute? Did they offer support? Did they seem understanding of setbacks and challenges caused by the uncertainty during this time? How did their strategies help others? Where are they now?
28. Top VPN Canada: Internet Privacy Website
“Fellow entrepreneurs need to keep in touch with employees and colleagues. Not only will it keep them well-informed, but it will also benefit their mental health.”
Impact: Sudden drops and fluctuations in website traffic
Strategy: Adjust marketing approach to help companies who have transitioned to remote work
Contribution: Free VPN services to businesses working from home
Advice: Communication is key for information as well as mental health
Mental health is not a normal topic of open discussion between colleagues but during times like these, it’s the big elephant in the room. People are scared, uncertain, stressed out, distracted, overwhelmed and isolated. There are so many seemingly minor issues on top of the overall circumstance and they add up. Please talk about them. Support one another and share this connection to ease the burden. The only advantage we have through all of this is that we are all facing it together. Ironically, unity is our greatest defense and we must use it.
29. Robyn Flint: Writer at TheTruthAboutInsurance, Realtor, Business Owner
“Take care of yourself first because you can’t be of service to anyone else if you aren’t healthy.”
Impact: Closing and lending process mostly done online
Strategy: Virtual home tours, offering sterilization products, electronic signing
Contribution: Reassuring clients and keeping them stress-free
Advice: Make health and safety as the number one priority over any deal
Without health, everything else becomes irrelevant. It’s the foundation for all facets of being alive and it’s also what makes this pandemic such a great existential threat. Thankfully, there are preventative measures that can ensure our vitality and enable safe interactions even during a health crisis. Using protective gear like face shields and shoe covers is essential, along with sanitizers, exercise and nutrition. Health is number one. Electronic signatures can be number two.
30. Mavens & Moguls: Global Branding and Digital Marketing Firm
“Words are part of the healing process and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul.”
Impact: Tremendous responsibility
Strategy: Online webinars, virtual coffee meetings, building relationships
Contribution: Stimulus packages to support local businesses, referrals and cross promotions
Advice: Build your brand through social media and online marketing
Supporting local businesses is always a great move but even more so now. It might be tempting to order everything online but it’s not sustainable in the long run. Small businesses rely on their neighbors to stay afloat and they’re taking the biggest hit right now. Many people have been asking what they can do to help during this crisis. A great option is offering stimulus packages organized by communities. Buy gift cards if you don’t need goods immediately. Every small gesture counts and has a much larger impact locally which transfers to the global market in the end anyway.
31. Square Signs: Sign-Making Company
“Danger brings with it the opportunity for unified action towards safety.”
Impact: Loss in sales
Strategy: Focus on Safety Signs, work from home
Contribution: Discounts, Covid-19 information blogs to spread awareness
Advice: Meet consumer demand and help all businesses stay in operation safely
The world during and post-coronavirus will have a new landscape. Health measures, safety regulations as well as new social policies may take some time to adjust to. Clear safety signs, preventative practices and other protocols are the smartest way to ensure that we can continue to operate in the real world without hazardous consequences. We implore everyone to adhere to these standards so that we can slowly but surely ease into business as usual for good.
Our biggest advantage is us. Entrepreneurs will be the leaders who usher in a world that is more adaptable, innovative and prepared for any future hardship. We can model how to survive a pandemic for others and come out the other end stronger than ever. Our response will determine whether this is a preparation for failure or for greatness. Let’s choose wisely, learn from each other, help one another, and overcome this collectively.