How do you keep a small business alive during the coronavirus pandemic? By being innovative and pivoting your products and services to keep up with the new normal. Entrepreneurship during Covid-19 is very different to what it was before the pandemic.

Even with more relaxed lockdown restrictions, many business owners are still limited in how they can operate. Others may find that there is no longer an urgent need for their services.

To survive the pandemic, businesses need to be willing to pivot and change their thinking. This is a vital business skill for any entrepreneur, young or established, to have and always a lesson well learnt.

So how can you ensure that your business is flexible enough to survive a global crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic?

Digital services are safe and convenient

The current pandemic has shown us just how important it is for entrepreneurs to be able to provide a safe and convenient digital offering, in addition to in-person services. With some creative brainstorming, just about any traditional face-to-face service can be pivoted into a digital platform.

Bella Bathrooms developed a visual app that allows customers to consult with bathroom designers online, from the comfort of their homes.

Dry Dock, a boutique liquor company, found an innovative way to keep their brand alive while alcohol sales were banned. They simply hosted online wine tasting webinars which in turn kept customers brand faithful.

Products and services to suit current needs

Entrepreneurs always need to be aware of what people need and provide solutions for those needs. Adding new services is a way that business can stay relevant.

For example, the healthcare technology app Epione created a COVID-19 pre-screening symptom checker for its existing platform.

Redshift, a web development company, created a system that allows retailers to sell online via their platform. By expanding their existing services, Redshift has been able to grow their business while providing a much-needed service.

Social entrepreneurship uplifts the nation

Other businesses have used their skills and resources to provide social support to South Africans. Profit is not really a concern here – although social entrepreneurship does have a long term effect on the country and economy as a whole.

The Sasol Foundation has sponsored The Lockdown Digital Classroom – an online platform to assist student learning while schools are closed during lockdown.

Entrepreneurship during COVID-19

Coronavirus has affected business in South Africa and the challenges are numerous. But the idea of being flexible and pivoting a business to suit the changing needs of consumers is nothing new to seasoned entrepreneurs – and something that young entrepreneurs can certainly learn from.