22nd April, 2020

8 businesses testing creative ways to pivot under lockdown

Business pivots have long led to success for entrepreneurs, and now COVID-19 is encouraging change at a faster pace than ever before. Here are just a few examples from near and afar.

Wrigley became one of the world’s biggest chewing gum brands after William Wrigley Jr. noticed that the gum he gave away for free as a sales incentive proved more popular than his actual products.

Howard Schultz created the Starbucks phenomenon only after transforming the company from one selling espresso makers and coffee beans into one focused on selling fresh-brewed coffee in European-style coffeehouses.

Today though, due to the worldwide health crisis, millions of businesses are faced with the necessity of having to pivot in a hurry just to survive.

If you’re an entrepreneur whose standard business model is impossible to continue because of restrictions, you’re trying to work out how to move forward.

Take inspiration from the following ventures. They’re all currently testing creative new ideas.

Milk the Cow

Milk the Cow operates two licensed fromageries in St Kilda and Carlton in Melbourne, Victoria.

But when their late-night cheese bars had to stop serving customers in-house, the company soon changed tack.

Today, Milk the Cow is temporarily operating as a pop-up bottle shop, deli, and retail store. Clients can pick up takeaway daily from either location or shop online for deliveries.

There’s not only a wide variety of cheeses available, but also wines, beers, spirits, charcuterie, accompaniments, and other goods.

Delivery is free in the Melbourne Metro area, or there’s $5 and $10 local shipping to selected zones.

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Order now, get cheese and booze in time for the weekend. Delivering 7 days with Free, $5 & $10 local delivery options. Shop online via our website. #quarantinihoursupplies

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The company is also making ends meet by selling pre-packed hampers plus monthly subscriptions (perfect for gifts) of cheese and alcohol.

Studio 41

Studio 41, a gym in Wellington, New Zealand, isn’t letting the Covid-19 lockdown stop them.

To not only stay in business but also help their clients stay fit and healthy while stuck at home, gym owner Jeffrey Willoughby is offering “a new gym experience”.

Studio 41 has switched to online training, with three options for current and new clients to utilise.

Gym memberships give people access to recorded workouts. These can be done at home anytime, with no equipment.

There are also innovative small-group training options, also held online.

These are first led by instructors through live sessions, then recorded so clients can repeat them in their own time.

For those still keen to receive encouragement via personal training, the gym is tailoring workouts for people based on the equipment they have on hand to use.

Personal trainers are also taking customers through nutrition protocols to address healthy eating while in lockdown.

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The Sparkle Bar

Hair and makeup artists around the world are facing a financial crisis and health one as they’re unable to go ahead with one-on-one appointments or participation in events.

Scottsdale, Arizona based entrepreneur Alex Bradberry is going online to help keep her business and employees going.

Her American hair-and-makeup business, The Sparkle Bar, is adapting by providing online consultations.

The “Virtual Edit”, as Bradberry has called it, means clients stuck at home can still keep themselves looking good by getting tips from their favourite beauty professional.

During a one-on-one, virtual, one-hour YouTube lesson, customers enjoy direct, uninterrupted access to a Sparkle Bar expert.

Bookings are available online through the company’s website.

Tallboy and Moose

Independent brewers are also suffering at the moment as pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, and other licensed venues have had to close their doors.

However, Melbourne brewery, bar, and kitchen Tallboy and Moose, located in Preston, is keeping the bevvies flowing and cashflow coming in by converting to new bottleshop hours.

The brewpub now offers takeaway beers from Monday to Saturday in one-litre cans filled fresh to order.

The business has an online shop to take orders, with “Cans on the Fly” deliveries available free in the local suburb and nearby Thornbury. The company charges $5 for other local suburbs.

Tallboy and Moose is also providing mail-order on their 440ml limited release brews, and more recently, they’ve added all their one-litre beers to their online store.

Products get sent Australia-wide via Australia Post.

Beyond a Room

Melbourne-based short-term accommodation-management firm Beyond a Room hasn’t let the fact that people are barely travelling right now stop them from continuing to do what they do best.

Getting creative to keep their doors open, literally and figuratively, the company has introduced “lockdown friendly” offerings for people who need to self-isolate.

People who must separate themselves from vulnerable family members or flatmates, or who simply want to bunker down somewhere more luxurious, can book all-inclusive accommodation packages.

Beyond a Room’s packages cover all the services those in quarantine and self-isolation might need.

For instance, apart from the accommodations themselves, the team also provide amenities like unlimited Wi-Fi, Netflix, games consoles, home-theatre systems, and food delivery.

Plus, guests receive a phone number to contact anytime they need something. Beyond a Room then arranges to get it delivered for them.

Little Gnome

Even as the retail and hospitality sectors suffer, Brisbane’s “Biggest Little Bookshop” and coffee shop, Little Gnome, continues to supply book- and coffee-lovers with the goods they crave.

Located bayside in Wynnum, Little Gnome now completes daily delivery runs of books, brownies, and even coffee.

Customers can order via text, pay over the phone, and then have their items delivered or pick up in-store (with strict health procedures in place).

Owner Bel Ellis and her team have also worked hard to get the store’s books listed on the business website so customers can order online.

Plus, Little Gnome is helping to spread the love about newly-launched books and keep kids entertained, too, at a time when authors can no longer do in-person events.

The company has switched from in-store author events to online storytime and other sessions.

Body Electric Dance Studios

Another exercise-based business turning to online platforms is Body Electric Dance Studios.

The Victorian company’s owner Jade Duffy is working with a video production company based in the same building as her studio to take dance classes online.

There’s a focus on delivering quality, interactive sessions that enable people to connect virtually and ‘dance together as one’.

Classes for both adults and kids stream online. So far, they cover dance styles such as Broadway, jazz, and hip hop, but there are more to come over the coming weeks.

Casual classes are available for those new to the centre.

We’re living in unprecedented times, which means there’s a significant challenge for aspiring entrepreneurs. But, business owners are a creative bunch and can use this time to test out fun, fresh new ideas.

Why not think about ways you can stay connected with customers and keep cash flow ticking over today?