COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented situations worldwide, from disrupting to what we have known as “normal” to changing the way we work, shop, go out, interact and do business. Businesses of all sizes have faced challenges, and many have closed. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel as with challenging times and losses, there is an opportunity for businesses to adapt to the “new normal” and pivot their businesses. This week we thought, why not highlight some businesses that have used this difficult situation to innovate and adapt to the new business environment. Here are some interesting businesses stories that will surely be taught at universities in coming years:
#1 Flying Elephant Production
Flying Elephant Productions is an Irish based business that before COVID-19 created and supplied exhibition set ups for events, and festivals. Due to the lockdown and social distancing restrictions, their events were called off leaving them with no work. However, the company had in stock excess of plywood sheeting (timber) that they used to make a desk for a friend. The flat-packed desk was a hit on social media as a large number of people were adjusting to working from home at the time. The idea has now led the company to sell over 1300 desks around the country through its online store. They are even making smaller sized desks for kids. One simple idea has turned into a new revenue stream for the company by quickly making its product available online and setting up an online store.
Buymie, a mobile application, is an Irish startup founded in 2016 that picks up your orders from grocery stores around Ireland. As a result of COVID-19, they have had to scale up their operations fairly quickly and also get on board more grocery markets to meet the increase in demand. They have secured deals with global grocery store Lidl. Furthermore, they raised 2.2 million euro in an effort to expand operations. They are offering deliveries in time spans as short as 1 hour along with catering to your personalised needs. Though the company was always in the online space, it’s commendable how quickly they have managed to scale up operations as well as bring aboard new grocery stores to provide their customers with better customer experience.
UK based startup, founded by two mums themselves, realised a gap in online inspiration for child-friendly experiences. They founded the company to help families plan and book memorable days and activities such as visiting Legoland. They also have guides to activities in various parks in England. However, since COVID-19 they have pivoted their company’s direction to providing fun and memorable experiences at home. They have over 1000 activities to choose from that include planning a lockdown easter egg hunt and guide to online classes for parents.
#4 Netflix Party
Social distancing has left a hollow in our lives- hanging out with our family and friends. It seems like a different lifetime when we could hang out with our friends casually and binge-watch movies and shows. Netflix with it’s 167 million subscribers realised this fairly quickly and released an extension of their app “Netflix Party”. This Chrome extension allows you to watch movies and shows with your friends. It also has a feature of group chat so you are able to talk while watching your favourites.
#5 Bread 41
Bread 41 is a well-known bakery in Dublin, and as all other restaurants have also shut down its eat-in services. Bread has been one of the fastest-selling commodities and is often hard to find. Good news for bread lovers, they are selling their bread loaves, pastries and pizza’s on pre-order. And some more good news, they are also selling make your own bread kits and sharing their much-desired recipes online. Bread 41 are also selling flour, another commodity that has been hard to find in grocery stores. They have very quickly adapted to the situation pivoting in this way. They now have a new online revenue stream and have quickly set up delivery options as well to help it grow.
Dyson is a world-renowned designer and manufacturer for home appliances. They created the Dyson Ventilator to help the shortage of medical ventilators that NHS was facing. This is a crucial appliance for medical staff to help patients in the fight against COVID-19. In the healthcare sector, the demand for medical appliances has truly peaked as a result of the difficult situation at hand. We have surely seen Dyson pivot its manufacturing model to help in times of crisis.
The startup wholesale delivery service company recently has shifted its business to supply consumers instead of restaurants, all through contactless transactions. The original business model of Cheetah was to supply restaurants with all their food, cleaning, hardware supplies. Now in this time of crisis, the company has used its resources to supply consumers and businesses alike. To fund this expansion, the company has closed a Series B of $36 million led by Eclipse Ventures, with ICONIQ Capital, Hanaco Ventures, and Floodgate Fund. This is another great example of a company that has pivoted its business at a crucial time.
Food for thought
These are hard times for all, including businesses, but we hope that these examples bring some positivity and perhaps some new ideas to you. Whether you are already in the eCommerce space, or in a very traditional type of business model you too might be able to adapt. Whether this means coming up with a totally new idea, selling your product or services online, or even re-using supplies to make a new product. Digital transformation undoubtedly has become crucial for all businesses.