COVID-19: Rapidly innovate and create opportunities
By KyoungHee Choi
Let’s face it. Most entrepreneurs are struggling amid this COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The longer it continues, the more business will be crippled by the crisis and might not be able to recover. We are facing an unprecedented storm. Everyone is faced with incredible uncertainty.
While businesses are rapidly adjusting their business plans, and working to quickly adapt to a new reality, it becomes critically important to focus on defensive moves that will maintain cash flow and long-term relationships with clients.
Equally as important is the need to continuously find time to innovate, rethink business models and find new opportunities that this crisis will bring. Too many leaders are still assuming that once we emerge from this crisis (and we will), things will look just the same as they did yesterday. Unfortunately, they won’t!
The select few companies that begin to think about emerging opportunities and ways that they can embrace them, will thrive. As the first phase of this crisis is beginning to be behind us, it’s essential for leaders to pause and think. Think about innovative ways to shift their business model to tap into new opportunities, rapidly.
An impressive example
Let me share an impressive example of very rapid innovation in the midst of this crisis. Since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the demand for home grocery delivery service has exploded. Because these services were previously still limited and not common due to the limited demand, these services have struggled to grow fast enough. My husband and I were avid users of delivery services prior to this crisis as we saw them as significant opportunities to save time. We got accustomed to home deliveries within 1-3 days but since the crisis the timelines have often shifted to over 4 weeks. Some delivery services were not even properly setup with online payment system.
In the midst of this, some very entrepreneurial individuals created a very rapid opportunity and turned personal crisis into an opportunity. They reached out to the top 100 buildings in the downtown core and introduced a delivery service which allowed the simple emailing of requests to personal shoppers that had been affected by the crisis and setup the most rudimentary online payment system. Rather than creating a large e-commerce platform, they streamlined their development to a day and stood up a viable business model.
Also, some premium restaurants shifted their business model to not only offer take-out but also leveraging their usual wait staff to run nearby deliveries so that they would maintain employment for their workforce while also reducing the lost revenue to third party providers.
People often wait for opportunities, but in these uncertain times, successful people seek opportunities and bring them to life rapidly.
Too often people miss opportunities because they don’t realize that they have encountered one. They are literally waiting for the opportunity to drop in their lap. Opportunities will come to those that seek them every day, recognize them, seek them and pursue them with massive action and urgency.
It’s time to stand-up and seek what will bring tomorrow’s success!