Small Businesses Pivoting During the Coronavirus Crisis

By at 1 April, 2020, 11:25 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Confronted by the coronavirus crisis and the related sharp economic downturn, small businesses are pivoting to find ways to survive.

Consider examples from a few articles cited below.

Double Down on Outreach, Networking, Marketing

In a article – “How Quarantine Conference Aims To Help Revive Business Owners During Crisis” – author Serenity Gibbons argues that “small businesses can’t afford to hunker down. The smarter strategy? To reach out. Networking is critical in business marketing. That fact hasn’t changed. How leaders should do it, however, has.”

She goes on to discuss, among other things, leveraging social media and digital conferences. She writes, “One I’ve been following is the Quarantine Conference, which has Shark Tank’s Daymond John as a keynote. Billed as ‘a no-contact networking and idea exchange,’ the Quarantine Conference covers what small businesses can do to thrive during the COVID crisis.”

Utilize Technology and Platforms Tools

Also at, in “How Entrepreneurs Are Pivoting Their Businesses During Crisis,” Aliza Licht serves up examples of businesses that had to make changes quickly. For example, after being nominated for a SXSW Innovation Award in Robotics & Hardware, SXSW was cancelled, leaving Yuting Su, founder and CEO of Thinker-Tinker, Inc., in trouble. Licht reported:

“Yuting like 400,000 other attendees depends on SXSW for marketing to investors and networking. She was not only devastated by the cancellation, but also lost all of the funds she had invested in her conference activations. She had to change gears quickly. Instead, she launched an online equity fundraising campaign with Netcapital. This way, she could still engage with investors, pitch her company, and get critical investments to grow.”

After citing other examples of businesses pivoting in a variety of ways, Licht serves up a handy “The Top 10 Must-Do’s During a Crisis (and how to prepare for a future one)” list. Check it out.

Staying Relevant by Connecting Virtually and Thru Content offers a piece by Susan Friesen titled “How to pivot your small business strategy during the COVID-19 crisis.” Friesen writes, “Creating a coronavirus crisis management plan for your business allows you to pivot your marketing strategy so you can offer customers help and assurance when they need it most. The more value you can offer your customers right now, the more successful you’ll be as we shift to a new way of marketing.”

She goes on to offer assorted tips for accomplishing this, including, for example, “Think of some ways you can still connect people from the comfort of home, including webinars, Facebook Live videos and virtual conferences using tools like Zoom. And don’t just focus on coronavirus-related content. Keep producing video that will benefit your small business marketing strategy long after the COVID-19 crisis is over.”

Hone in on Survival

Finally, the Harvard Business Review has published a short but handy piece by Catherine Monson titled “What Small Businesses Need to Survive the Coronavirus Crisis.”  Her points are 1. secure liquidity, 2. ensure access to capital, and 3. engage with policy-makers.

Of course, that last point lines up with what the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council works to do for American small businesses.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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