Real Leaders

How 66 Business Leaders are Turning the Pandemic Downturn Into an Opportunity

When crisis strikes it’s human nature to take things personally and feel alone in your struggle. Sometimes it helps to understand what others have done when faced with similar, unfortunate circumstances, and learn from them.

People who have studied this phenomenon have discovered that those who reflect on past solutions during stressful times rebound more quickly, and are likely to deal with their circumstances more effectively — than those who wallow in despair. One of the first things to do when turning adversity into opportunity is to view the challenges before you with a broader view. You should realize that you, too, can overcome the difficulties of today and tomorrow — as countless others have done throughout history. It’s not easy, but companies and businesses have done it before and they will do it again. Business leaders have faced upheaval and problems in the past, and have gone on to survive — even thrive. Here are 66 business leaders who have confronted their fears and found a way to turn their business into something new.

1. Nick Chen, CEO of Snacks n Chill

Our original business model was providing hospitality packages for the short-term rental industry, working with companies like Airbnb to enhance guest experiences. When we saw 95% of our subscribers pause their orders after the outbreak of Covid-19, we knew we had to adjust on the fly. We leveraged our current infrastructure, our team’s knowledge of how to curate engaging experiences, and our extensive network of brand relationships to reimagine our business. By rearranging the same ingredients that made us successful before the pandemic, we were able to stay relevant as more and more people found themselves on stay at home orders. We launched our website the same week that shelter in place was implemented, and we now allow companies to connect with their employees through care packages filled with healthy and delicious snacks and personal notes from leadership. I see vast opportunities for those with the foresight to imagine a world that will be phased back towards normalcy. The best way to serve customers, peers, and our community will be to adapt to the vastly changing conditions we will be living in over the next 6-12 months.

2. Allison Bishins, CEO of Allison Bishins Consulting

After this crisis is over, I’ll be letting go of chasing the wrong kind of customer – the type that needs five different interactions — calls, DMs and emails — just to purchase a $100 product. Pre-coronavirus, chasing these leads seemed like customer service, but now that my work hours are reduced from suddenly homeschooling, I can’t chase dragons! Similarly, I’m letting go of trying to “hack” the social media algorithms. I’ve always believed that quality content was more important than hacks, but still occasionally use tricks like rotating hashtags. I no longer have the time or energy for these tactics.

3. Carlene Macmillan, Brooklyn Minds Psychiatry

Our NYC-based mental health practice pivoted from in-person sessions to telehealth sessions from the pandemic. Before the pandemic, only a fraction of our sessions were conducted via computer, and many of our therapists felt strongly that to do so would negatively impact the therapy experience. We decided to survey our patients, and 72% said that after the pandemic, they would like to choose between in-person sessions and virtual sessions, depending on convenience. Only 20% said they wanted an only in-person session, and an even smaller number, 3%, said they only wanted virtual sessions. We expect to have many more virtual offerings in the future.

4. Robert Kinsler, CEO of United Fray 

Our company was built on social gatherings, and we’ve had to pivot and reinvent ourselves — moving from social sports to online, sold out experiences like trivia, Bingo, and speed dating. Local partners, like bars that still provide delivery, are offering prizes for community engagement. It’s a win-win for businesses and our community. We now think of ourselves as a digital business, identifying and pursuing opportunities that engage the community and benefit large and small businesses. For our conference and event production services, we’re developing digital programming and video production based on client demand to help sustain business continuity.

5. Terry Kasdan, President of atCommunications

Now, more than ever, as virtually all forms of live sales interactions have ground to a halt, meeting customers online — where they’re spending vast amounts of time right now — is critical. Since lockdowns began, Internet consumption has increased by 70% (according to Forbes), and social media usage is up 21%. In recognition of this reality, many clients have shifted marketing dollars that traditionally would have been spent elsewhere into digital. Their brick-and-mortar stores may be closed, but their eCommerce stores remain open for business. Their trade shows and industry events may be canceled, but they can still network with prospective customers online.

6. Chris Rowan, Managing Director of The Agency

It is quite impractical to expect the same results when circumstances change. We had moved headquarters to Barcelona, Spain, only two years ago, attracted by the big opportunities and the way of living in this steadily growing city; by then (funny as it sounds) its economy was practically based on tourism, entertainment, and gastronomy. After making the adjustments on the areas that needed to be put in hibernation (events and tourism), we reorganized the staff. We redistributed budget to paid media and advertising of our online services. We also relaunched an affiliate program, which has shown an increase of 30% in subscribers. 

In probably 6-12 months, hundreds of individuals who were previously let go will start their own enterprises, so we will witness a structural change in the global economy: from a corporation system, back to intensive production and self- employment, or an association/cooperative based economy. We need to keep our core values but stay open to learning.

7. Robyn Flint, Entrepreneur, Car Insurance Comparison

I am an avid entrepreneur, which means I’m always looking for new ways to do business and new businesses to do. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced me to take a step back and consider how I do business. While this pandemic has created so much uncertainty, it has also brought the good out in people. Some companies have also seen record sales during the pandemic. The positive outcomes of the virus in some cases can overshadow the negative. I have learned how to do business through 95% virtual means. I have been creative in ways to maintain and nurture established relationships while creating new and building new ones with new clients. It’s about putting their needs ahead of my business needs and coming together as a community.

8. Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly

At Dentaly, we predict that regular dentistry will get a boost once social distancing guidelines are loosened since a lot of people can’t get dental treatment right now. Aesthetic dentistry will likely be negatively affected as people will have less money to spend on treating themselves with cosmetic procedures. That’s why we plan on shifting our focus moving forward so that we post more articles about how to seek normal dental treatment. While we’ve always posted about that, that is going to be our prime focus moving forward. We’ve also been posting more about oral hygiene as of late since we want to help people protect their teeth as best they can in the interim.

9. Malte Scholz, CEO, and Co-Founder of Airfocus 

We’ve been working remotely for the past three years since our company was founded and the pandemic hasn’t changed that. However, it has changed one thing — we now have flexible working hours. With all of our families at home at the same time as our employees, we found it impossible to work a standard 9-5 remotely. We’ve introduced flexible hours, and we plan to keep this arrangement even after the pandemic dies down. You can get so much more done in a day if you’re not forced to sit behind a laptop for eight hours at a time.

10. Laura Fuentes, Operator of Infinity Dish

As the owner of a high-speed internet and satellite TV retailer, we’ve been incredibly lucky during the pandemic. The increase in customers from home has translated into a 32% rise in sales since January. Our marketing efforts have changed from exalting our package perks to ensuring customers are up-and-running and taking the proper precautions. Unfortunately, our real challenge will lie when the country re-opens, and everyone goes back to work. How will we retain customers who no longer need our plethora of entertainment options? We plan to go overdrive on customer service — by giving our customers reps who can keep them regularly updated on new offers that will fit their lifestyle. If we can use this pandemic to increase brand loyalty, this will hopefully translate into customer retention. A 2018 study by Motista showed that customers with an emotional connection have a 306% higher lifetime value than those who are simply satisfied with a purchase. This idea is the basis for our business continuity strategies — throughout, and after the pandemic.

11. Steve Pritchard, Managing Director at It Works Media

“As a digital organization, it’s essential to reassess the clients you’re seeking out, especially given the current climate. That’s why we’re looking not to reinvent our whole business, but going after a bunch of new clients. This new change will push us to diversify our client base; ensuring we have an equal measure of travel, retail and online education clients to minimize our risk in the event of another sudden downturn in consumer demand. It’s important to recognize new changes and implement them to increase success, which is certainly how we want to pave the way towards our future.

12. Katie Kimball, Founder of the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse 

My business is ideally suited for these times, as I already teach kids to cook healthy food through online classes. However, my course was supposed to be closed when the shutdown began, so we immediately started a shorter-term, much less expensive class to make it accessible for all families stuck at home. This went well, and we welcomed over 800 new families, but as people got busy again, conversions slowed. We are now pivoting again, getting on the phone with people to see what life is like presently and working on a set of lessons for bigger kids around what they can accomplish by themselves without parental involvement.

13. Norge Matos Aldana, CEO of Utility Avenue

When we began working on Utility Avenue, we were already forecasting a crisis. Most gig-economy platforms were not efficient — submitting gig-workers into a techno-slavery scenario. The free economy was losing its core, and that’s what we thought would produce a market correction. At Utility Avenue, we are building a digital free economy, where ordinary people can compete with big companies.

For our team, things have barely changed. We were already working remotely, without a big budget, and without investments. The main difference is that our vision came true, so we are now working harder to help others. With more than 30 million Americans unemployed, we believe that a significant change will happen — increasing the service economy, mediators becoming unnecessary, and boosting the automation of factory production. Utility Avenue is a community marketplace where services can be advertised and sold, and the provider is not charged a percentage of the price.

14. Jason Davis, CEO Of Inspire360

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how productive my team has been now that we are all working remotely. Before the crisis, I never dreamed that we could work this well without in-person connections and daily meetings. Now that we’re in this situation, I’ve been able to see our remote working as an opportunity to change things for the better. So, we’ve decided to go forward in the foreseeable future without an office. We’re able to save a substantial amount of money by working from home and still be as productive as ever, and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

15. Hamim Moshtaghian, Co-founder & CEO of Elcid Tour Barcelona

The world will adopt online faster after the pandemic. Many businesses and brands that invested in street shops more than online will change their strategies. For instance, although the travel industry is closed, the number of visitors on our online travel agency website has increased by 18% during the past few months. The service businesses that develop their online infrastructures now will be one step ahead in the future. It should be acknowledged that these new protocols, when applied to all sectors of business, will also impact the prices of services and goods.

16. Suzanne Evans, Founder of Driven Inc.

You need to read the room. The worst thing you can do is to come across clueless. You need to listen to your clients now more than ever! It does not matter what you once did. It’s about what you can do right now, right after and forever. Money begets money, so keep making sales and shift with the world. Be flexible with your pricing, but do not undervalue yourself. If you keep moving forward and work through what you can do now, you will be ready for what is to come your way next.

17. Christian Giordano, President of Mancini Duffy

When this crisis is in our rearview, we’ll need to continue to pivot to see how the business environment unfolds. I will ditch time-wasters and unnecessary meetings and stay laser-focused on retaining the valuable business relationships with our clients who have supported us through this pandemic. We’ve always valued our employees, and now, months in, we value them, their families, and their unwavering loyalty to us even more. Moving forward, I’ll aim to make the business even more about the employees and less about individual business drivers that we held in high regard before COVID-19. For the future, I envision opportunities for us to creatively reconfigure the workplace environment by innovating new design layouts that are conducive to a post-corona world.

18. Angolina Amores, Owner of The Alpha Femme and Amazon Wholesale

As an owner of two e-commerce businesses and one photoshoot space rental, I see e-commerce making retail redundant by the end of COVID-19, except for essential stores. The majority of people are now switching to making money online, which will accelerate retail’s death even faster. And since there’s an astronomically high number of individuals online at all times of the day during this pandemic, there’s never been a better time and opportunity to be investing a higher spend on ads. My businesses are booming, and my email lists are growing rapidly. It’s all about how you capitalize on economic uncertainty.

19. Adam Povlitz, CEO & President of Anago Cleaning Systems

Historically, commercial cleaning has been treated as a cost that many companies tried to minimize as much as possible. Covid-19 has created a shift in mindset, so business owners aren’t looking for the cheapest cleaning anymore, but cleaning done by a reputable brand using EPA and CDC approved disinfectants, performed by highly trained cleaners with documented procedures. This new mindset will also shift the cleaning paradigm from a push model (pushing business owners to do more) to a pull model (customers demanding businesses be cleaner). We expect to see a dramatic increase in disinfection services as well. Before, this was considered an add-on to nightly cleaning regimens, but I think this will now become standard practice.

20. Rahul Vij, CEO of WebSpero Solutions 

Regain lost ground. Our very first order of business has been tracking the ground we have lost before this pandemic and planning a course of action wherein we can assess how much we can achieve post-quarantine. 

Be more open. Hire beyond location. While working remotely, one of the best things we’ve experienced is the ability to hire from a bigger pool of talented professionals globally to meet urgent requirements. Previously, it took a long time to vet each new hire, but with virtual talent platforms, it’s become easier and faster.

Embrace flexibility. Instead of succumbing to pressures around the downfall of the economy, we’ve seen our employees facilitate a collective spirit of endurance, helping one another overcome work-related challenges and stepping up when others can’t. Keeping flexible working hours and flexibility around submitting work according to availability, has brought about a positive change in company culture. We want to retain this spirit for the post-pandemic period.

21. Billie Patterson, Marketing Director of InternX

InternX is a technology startup that works with universities for in-person career fair events to create more valuable, efficient connections between employers and students. While figuring out what our new vision was, we had to remind ourselves, “Is this something we can create that will be beneficial now and post-quarantine, too?” We decided to shift our focus to providing virtual fairs. Right away, we saw universities interested in using our services. We’re now helping host virtual fairs or plan limited-attendee-size fairs with pre-set meetings for the fall. Even when COVID-19 begins to decline, there will most likely be a cap on large gatherings, so universities will still utilize us for these interactions.

22. Michele Smith, CEO of M Communications Inc.

Reinventing your business is all about current media from a PR perspective, but this project came out of love and to help others. The Quarantine Cookbook, which I co-wrote with my son Dylan Smith (12), will, at the very least be pretty epic for his future college application, but also shows how creative you can be. We have been cooking together since he was age five, and the idea stemmed from seeing Facebook posts from parents asking what to do with their kids during home isolation. My Aunt Pam said, “You own a publishing company, and you should do this.” So, I did. We created a cookbook that keeps budget in mind, food availability in stores, and fun for the whole family in the kitchen. We have included vegetarian options and difficulty levels for kids. Recipes include Bad Monkey Garlic Bread, Delivery-Worthy Pizza, and Boastful Barbeque Burgers.

23. Matt Scott, Owner of Baltimore Pest Pros.

We may be an “essential” business, but we’ve also been looking at strategies on reinvention for when the pandemic passes. These aren’t drastic measures, but we’re optimistic that they will be effective enough. Generally, we will take better care of our workers. This is not to say that we aren’t doing that now, but this pandemic showed us how valuable they are to a point that if even just one of them fails to report in for work, we all feel the burden of it in some way. We’ve always made their health and well-being a top priority, but I believe there is still room for improvement. If we play our cards right, we will be able to withstand any crisis and its aftermath.

24. Terrell Strayhorn, President of Do Good Work Educational Consulting Group

Before COVID-19, our staff was a mix of full-time, in-person personnel, part-time, and remote workers. Even before a state mandate for social distancing was issued, I pivoted the company to remote working for everyone. Although I believe the crisis will end, the company has been changed forever. To adjust to remote working, we deployed several interoffice communication tools (e.g., Slack), web conferencing software (e.g., Zoom, WebEx), and shifted to collaborative office technology (e.g., Office365) and extensive cloud storage. As a result, staff interoffice exchange has increased over 50% in recent weeks, and now we have data to analyze for process improvement purposes. The COVID pandemic fast-tracked our move online.

25. Martha Krejci, Business Coach and Influencer

Stop prospecting and start attracting people to you. Up to 3% of the people out there are going to keep buying whatever you’re selling. Many want to support you, and they love your brand, but that’s where we all start — once you have made it through your low hanging fruit, NOW is the time to really start your business. Low hanging fruit won’t build your whole business, and it doesn’t have what you really need — attracting people, following up, building relationships, and nurturing. There are probably tens of thousands of entrepreneurs out there that quit because they didn’t know what to do when their low hanging fruit disappeared. They didn’t know how to run a “real and authentic” business.

26. Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls

I started a global branding and digital marketing firm 19 years ago in Cambridge, MA. As a small business, we are always pivoting to respond to market changes. Communication is key to our community, customer and employee engagement. Regarding messaging, between the pandemic and a possible recession, leaders and brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious consumers and focus on the real relevance of their products or services. We have learned to acknowledge that things are now different so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge between today and the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information, need, feeling and facts. I feel we have a tremendous responsibility, because never before has communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now. Words are part of the healing process and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. It’s inappropriate for content to appear tone-deaf in this crisis. Be careful when asking to be paid, being too salesy, or implying solidarity. It can seem cheesy, or even worse, opportunistic. 

27. Syed Irfan Ajmal, Founder of SIA Enterprises

Before COVID-19, we mainly relied on offering digital marketing services to various clients. However, we have faced financial setbacks and other challenges due to the ongoing crisis. This has made us re-evaluate our current business plan and think about the changes that can help us become more robust in a post-pandemic world. Instead of solely depending on our clients, we are focusing on growing our non-agency income, which will include digital products and online courses. We are working on developing these digital assets to make up for the losses we have experienced. Moreover, we have purchased some new web domains and are currently working on building new online brands and opportunities. The plan is to develop a program for affiliate marketing to boost our revenue further.

28. Leah de Souza, Founder of LdS Consulting

This is the 2nd significant downturn that I’ve experienced, the first being the financial crisis in 2008. While they are nothing alike, the first one hardened me to the fact that as a leader, you will face harder and more unpredictable situations than you imagined. Here’s what I plan to do new going forward and that I invite other business leaders to do.

Relationships – wherever you choose to connect with your audience, connect with them. Whether it’s on social media, on the phone or via email. Stay in touch with your past clients and new fans. Continue to engage them, remind them of why your product or service is the best. They are being bombarded with ads, promos, and the like, and you have to make your engagement with them meaningful and authentic.

Results – More than ever, focus on what you do best. So many businesses and people are promoting their products and services online that it can be hard to tell anymore who is good at what. Get good at your core work and be known for that. While some people do fall for the shiny objects, if you want longevity in business like me, you have to deliver.

Relevance – You need to solve the problems that they are facing today, and that will come tomorrow. You need to up and cross skill. If your clients want more video engagement – learn to do that. Always be best in class in your field.

29. Christie Lawler. Founder of CJL Consulting

We are a niche marketing agency that serves the restaurant, hotel and entertainment chains across the US We are choosing to expand our services and products with a new book series, a weekly webinar series and a new program we are calling The Chef’s Table – nutrition-focused recipes and menus for the healthcare industry. It offers celebrity-chef curated food and beverage packages and menus that are customizable to the needs of each facility or dietician.

30. Leslie Yerkes, President of Catalyst Consulting Group

The most significant difference is that this current situation threatens our health. We are talking about life and death, balancing the outcomes upon our actions, judgment, and inaction. It is one of the most severe threats of my career. I am taking it seriously, but remain light in my attitude and approach to how I respond. I am approaching this event with the same operating principles that guided me through previous natural disasters, economic downturns, terrorist events, and life challenges. I take responsibility for what I can. I remain generous and abundant. I will support my clients, even if there is no remuneration. I will find ways to contribute. I will stretch, learn, and adapt. I will find gratitude in every challenge. I will let people know how much I care and appreciate them. I will move things forward that can return value into the future.

For many summers, I have studied with Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science who, for the last five years, has spoken about collapse. Using science and history, she anticipated the collapse of all of our systems (financial, political, social, organizational, and environmental). She wanted us to understand the nature of collapse and complexity, to prepare for how people might react to the collapse, and to cultivate the leadership that would be needed for the moment. She called it being ‘Warriors for the Human Spirit’. She suggested that our leadership would need to include the competencies of hospice — helping individuals to mourn, let go, feel, and move forward. Also, to bring the skills of midwifery to the world — being able to birth a new start into an unknown. She poo-pooed hope-without-honesty as not leader-like. She believes that faith will be a stronger guide. Faith in personal abilities, faith in the goodness of humankind, faith in our collective ability to adapt, and care for each other. Faith that we will rise.

31. Lisa Chu, CEO of Black n Bianco

In my opinion, business will change post-pandemic from a falling economy. Due to falling consumer confidence, we believe there will be fewer people shopping for apparel clothing. Once we emerge from this pandemic, we plan on reinventing our product offerings. Focusing on necessity apparel wear instead of style and trends. I also believe consumer habits will shift even more into online shopping. I have made immediate decisions to reduce our wholesale business and utilize more capital into our online presence. Our core brand value will remain the same, but our delivery and products will adapt to a post-pandemic world. Reinventing our business is a must if we plan to survive.

32. Jack Wang, CEO of Amazing Beauty Hair

While we’re relatively safe as an e-commerce business, this is still something that is on my mind regularly. I don’t think I will ditch anything, but what I will retain is the generous discounts that I’ve been offering to my clients. Lately, we’ve been offering up to 25% discounts for our products for an entire month. It’s turned out to be a success, and I’m thinking of having it run for a more extended period. People have been responding to it well, and sales are actually doing better with this strategy. For us, it’s an effective way to help people out, global crisis or not. I see people turning towards e-commerce more than actual retail stores — because it’s more cost-efficient. It’s crisis-proof, too, and you can thrive through any economic situation with the correct strategies.

33. Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director of Mashvisor

Hiring remote workers will become an integral part of our employment strategy. We’ve always had remote workers across different departments, but before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, we were hesitant to hire remotely for key positions in our company. The pandemic forced us to have our entire team work remotely as our employees’ health and safety are a top priority. This experience is showing us that work can be done remotely just as efficiently as from the office and is opening new horizons for us to start hiring even more remote workers, in all departments and for all positions.

34. Teodor Panterov, Founder of Central Park Tours and co-founder of Broadway Pass

Broadway Pass has three retails locations on Times Square and provides last minute tickets for Broadway shows. Broadway Pass already furloughed 20 employees and was unable to qualify for the PPP program. (hopefully, we will with another round of funding). This is unprecedented in the long history of Broadway, and the industry will suffer. We have spoken to the producers, and we will begin offering $49 tickets for major Broadway productions (as soon as the pandemic is over). Hopefully, this will boost the industry and incentivize people to see shows. We are doing a similar initiative with Central Park Tours, where we will offer free bike rentals to customers who want to visit Central Park. Both are attempts to vitalize the city and the tourist industry in New York.

35. Valentin Scemama is the CEO of Secursus

Despite the Covid-19 crisis, we have maintained a high level of insurance coverage of up to $ 100,000 on our parcels. Since mid-March, Carriers no longer deliver packages as usual, and signatures are not required anymore. Instead, recipients are called over the phone to arrange the delivery. Our company has decided to keep insuring these packages, even if the signature is missing. Usually known as a company that insures vintage items, we now insure medicines as well as surgical masks coming from Asia. We are currently developing partnerships with labs that will soon need to ship a vast number of medical devices.

36. Darian Chavez, co-founder of DNC Marketing

We’ve changed the way we interact with our clients. As a small business, we’re taking the extra time to put in extra time with our clients where they are. Instead of relying on ads and cold marketing techniques, we’re collaborating in peripheral spaces, teaching for free to make sure our clients stay in business, and spending time on social media, creating one-on-one connections to drive traffic and word of mouth. 

We’ve doubled down on our message. We specialize in writing copy that connects with our client’s customers on an emotional level. Especially now, we’re doubling down on that framework to show our clients how important that message is and how it can bring in revenue in the current climate. 

We’re focusing on what’s in demand instead of experimenting with offers. During this time, we can’t afford to put extra resources into experimentation, so we’re offering what sells best and only what sells best. This has provided the focus that we never had pre-COVID-19 and has resulted in increased revenue over the last quarter.

37. Richard Garvey, the founder of AcerSEO

My business model has shifted during this pandemic to where I plan to build my agency on a fully remote model. Previously, I planned to expand the office and in-house staff, but it’s clear that there is no longer a need for a “house” anymore. My ability to communicate and produce results with my team has not been hindered at all, working virtually, so I plan for this to be a massive asset for my business. I can now recruit across the country and keep my overhead costs to a bare minimum, further protecting myself from economic downfalls.

38. Julie Austin, Owner of Speaker Sponsor

In 2008 I only had one business, which was manufacturing my invention, a wrist water bottle. I was flying around the world to the factories and meeting with 25 international distributors. Overnight my business went to nothing, and I was not prepared with a plan B. So, I learned how to diversify and wrote a book called The Money Garden: How to Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime of Income on diversification. If you’re not diversified, it will be hard to pivot your business when it’s hit with any kind of disaster, like a pandemic.

I spent years creating multiple streams of income, so when it comes to what I will ditch and retain, I would say I rarely ditch anything, but merely put it on the back burner in case I need it in the future. I’m continually creating new income streams in my business. Does that mean they are all winners? Definitely not! But that’s how you learn what works and doesn’t work. Don’t invest too much time or money into something, and test it. If you can’t make it work, put it on the back burner. Maybe the timing isn’t right, or you haven’t found the right audience. You never know what is going to work until you experiment.

39. Jason Patel, Founder of Transizion

We’re going to invest in video content heavily. Sure, spending on ads for Google and Facebook are currently dropping, but once we’re back on the upswing, bidding and price tags for ads will rise again. The margin we make on these ads in the current environment will go toward video marketing; that is, making tutorials for our customers, how-to guides for prospects, and trying out new video platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok, and others. The goal is to diversify our marketing channels while gaining first-mover advantage and lowering customer acquisition costs.

40. Devin Panlaque, Co-Owner of Art of the Gentleman 

During these unprecedented and uncertain times, we’ve had to pivot our marketing strategy to less of a sales strategy as we provide many of our products and services to working professionals, wedding parties, proms, and graduates. With many of our target customers having a reduced need for our products and services, we’ve had to adjust our message and branding. What we did was alter our marketing message from a conversion-focused marketing strategy to acquire sales to a more informative, optimistic, and brand awareness marketing strategy. We focused our efforts on keeping being hopeful. We thought about our customers and who our target customers were. We reminded people that this would get better, that the weddings will happen, prom will happen, graduations will happen, we will get to see people, family, and friends again with more gratefulness for the little things. This strategy was good for us because it will give us a positive impact to increase our brand awareness across a wider audience as our primary focus is simply to get our message out and spread optimism.

41. Andy LaPointe, Co-founder of Traverse Bay Farms

The foremost opportunity we see is telling our story better. We have always used as many locally grown ingredients as possible. Many of our competitors import their ingredients from China, Italy, Turkey, and Poland. We will be more aggressive in promoting our local and USA-only ingredients. We will continue to focus on trust and transparency education. We will retain our practice of having a secondary supplier for all our ingredients. This will allow us to strengthen our supply chain.

42. Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism

We’re adapting our business to assume that face-to face-communication, while a hallmark of what we did before, will likely be put on hold for a few months or even years. While that’s difficult in an organization where our sales process is based on trust, it’s something that we have to adopt. Therefore, we need to think about how we can build trust through screens. That means focusing on empathy, kindness, and acting as a resource to our staff. We’re doing this by emphasizing our efforts on crafting useful resources for others to help their business grow.

43. Neal Taparia, Founder of Solitaired

Unfortunately, we had to cut our marketing budget, which included discontinuing contractors and letting go of an employee who helped us with copywriting and communications. Now, the rest of our team have chipped in to do this work, helping them reflect on their role and what it means to our mission. Our customers immediately noticed the change in tone and praised it as more down-to-earth and genuine. Our NPS score went up 12%. Going forward, we’re not going to overthink or over-invest in email, product, and social media communications. Our whole team will continue to contribute to our marketing communications to show an authentic, raw reflection of who we are.

44. Dave Pressler, Owner of DRD Enterprises

With the current pandemic, the need for isolation rooms is paramount. My Safedome can be an isolation pod. As a firefighter for Miami Dade County during Hurricane Andrew, I saw the need for more safe rooms and more robust construction, so I designed a portable, tornado-proof backyard storage shed called Safedome. It’s 10 feet in diameter, 9 feet high, and weighs 8 tons. It’s also Miami Dade County Florida and Department of Defense certified. I designed it so that it can be used every day — for storage, a cabin, a garage or a place of refuge to save your life. It’s the next evolution in backyard storage sheds.

45. Stan Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting 

After a diverse and successful 31-year career at IBM, I retired and formed my diversity and career development consultancy in 2010. I do most of my diversity training on-site and in-person with almost all my clients. More than $12,000 of scheduled engagements over the past 3 months have been cancelled. I’m now using this time to propose web-based diversity training while continuing to develop additional resources and writing blogs. I’m optimistic about the future and preparing to do almost all my training via the web. If we return to more in-person training one day, I’ll now have additional options to offer my clients.

46. Beverly Solomon, Creative Director of Beverly Solomon Design

My husband, award-winning Green designer Pablo Solomon, and I, have been in the art and design business for almost 50 years. As we transition into retirement, we are trying to educate a new generation of designers by sharing what we’ve learned — often the hard way. This is not our first challenge with economic disasters. Art and design are often the first casualties. Here is how we coped in the past and how we are coping now. We are acting as honest advisers to our clients. We are helping them to decide what art and collectibles to keep, to sell, or trade to help with their cash flow problems. It won’t come as a surprise to you, but many people don’t understand that even the ultra-rich are often leveraged over their heads and need cash in times like these to prevent the whole pile of cards from collapsing. Our clients include leaders in business, entertainment and sports. We also arrange for trades and sales between clients at no charge or commission. We just want them to stay afloat. Don’t kid yourself. There is no such thing as a post-pandemic world. It’s like wishing for a world without war. The best you can hope for is periods of peace and health.

47. Joanna Vaiou, SEO Consultant

When this crisis is over, I will keep investing my time and resources to the 20% that brings 80% of my results. We should never keep all our eggs in one basket. As an entrepreneur specializing in Search Engine Optimization and running a client SEO business, I remain restless, and I never settle. The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in many financial losses from companies not being well equipped for it. So, I have built a Greek real estate marketplace that has already generated high-quality property inquiries from International buyers and investors. It has created interest and demand from scratch for realtors in Greece.

48. Alex Tomaszewska, Success and Confidence Coach

I’m a confidence coach, and my focus before the pandemic was around general confidence in life and business – helping people find clarity about what they want and the courage to achieve it. During the first week of the pandemic, I realized that the world had shifted online — and will stay there. I immediately rebranded to become an online confidence coach — helping homepreneurs be productive, handle online criticism, perform in videos, create courses — teaching them all the skills that make you resilient and attractive for clients online. With more and more businesses moving to the virtual world, it will be harder and harder to stand out in the crowd. One of the big issues while working from home is procrastination, which usually stems in some sort from fear. As soon as I mentioned my new program, my calendar was fully booked – I’d hit the sweet spot.

49. Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful 

The coronavirus situation has taught my team and me the importance of communication, especially when running a remote operation. The pandemic has seen many of our employees facing different problems and having different needs. The only way to overcome those differences is through constant communication. Strong communication has proved essential for ensuring that everyone’s needs are met, whether that comes in the form of financial help, reduced hours, or simply a short break to get their lives in order. My new vision for my post-pandemic business is one that values communication and connection among employees highly. This increased efficiency and workplace togetherness and boosted morale.

50. Mark Weiser, Founder of Shake Rattle & Roll Pianos

We are the largest piano entertainment company in the Northeast USA (we performed over 600 shows last year). The entertainment sector has been stopped cold by the pandemic. Coronavirus forced us to move our entire operation online and do livestream Dueling Pianos shows. To innovate and separate ourselves from every other musician with a lamp and a basement, we created a new slate of products, including Piano Bingo, a marriage of the all-request, interactive piano bar experience, and the fun of competitive Bingo. This kind of game lends itself to the online livestream experience, and surprisingly, has taken off in the past few weeks. We are now planning on continuing this beyond the quarantine to maintain an online connection with our audience. We’ve had to tweak our outreach and promotions as we go, but it’s been a valuable learning experience.

51. Joao Mendes, Founder of No Footprint Nomads

I was working with the tourism industry, consultancy, and certification, but for now, this is not an option anymore. I’ve decided to organize a virtual summit to help this market. One thing happened after another, and now I’m organizing seven virtual summits this year. What started with another channel to reach my audience can potentially become my new business model — where I can reach many more and hopefully have a higher impact.

52. Andrea Gehrz, Founder of Moira Press

Here at The Moira Press, a publishing company for high-level astrological textbooks, we have seamlessly converted to online. We are now offering master classes each day at regular times. This provides a structured feel to the workday. I’m also simulating the experience of being in the office all day via social media. We see many opportunities for businesses because of this transition. Not only will the general carbon imprint be lessened by people working from home, but it will also save a lot of driving time. In a time-is-money world, this can translate to increased revenue. Also, many businesses can save costs by going paperless and conserving resources in general.

53. Angela Hope, Content & Digital PR Specialist at UpFlip

Throughout this pandemic, companies have had to get innovative with the methods in which they retain clients and customers. When consumers are looking for every chance to cut corners and lower their expenses, it’s become more critical than ever for businesses to discover ways to show their customers — and their competition — that they’re still in the game.

One of the first things to consider is to treat your customers with compassion. Go the extra mile to ensure that their strategies and campaigns produce positive outcomes. In times when a dollar has to stretch further than before, finish projects on time, and be sure that they see how necessary your services or products are for their company’s growth.

And when things change back to the “new normal,” retain these ideas. There’s no better way to show exactly what your business stands for than to continue to exceed expectations.

54. Andrea Loubier, CEO of Mailbird

Once we move beyond these uncertain times, it’s highly likely that we will see the traditional workplace change dramatically. Many companies have found that they can, in fact, be productive and successful with a remote team. Even when employees can return to the office, numerous businesses may find that it may not be in their best interest to go back to “business as usual.” Office costs will go down, including utilities and general business supplies, and it may be possible to rent a smaller space. For team members, they can cut out the time and costs associated with a daily commute, as well as money spent on lunch and other expenses. Some companies are discovering that their employees are actually being more productive at home, without the interruptions that can occur in the office. With the help of software like Zoom, Asana, Slack, and Google’s selection of tools, everyone can still stay in direct contact, upload and download documents, complete tasks, and work together on projects.

55. Ken Eulo, Founding Partner of Smith & Eulo LawFirm

We are making a massive push towards promoting our online services, even when the crisis is over, and we return to our physical office. We see our recently generated remote legal services as an opportunity we had not previously taken advantage of, and one that could be an essential supplement to our physical services in the foreseeable future. I expect others to follow suit and believe the remote services market will see a surge in the years to come.

56. Jacob Edwards, Director of E-commerce at Made4Fighters

We are adapting to the Coronavirus pandemic by offering new products that cater to the current situation. For example, many of our customers are looking for alternative ways to stay active since they can’t go to the gym. So, we are selling home training equipment such as ellipticals and multigyms even though these aren’t products that we usually carry. We have seen an increase in our sales and our revenue in March was 30% greater compared to last year at the same time. We will retain our e-commerce structure going forward since we believe online shopping will become even more popular. However, we will adjust the products we sell to meet the new needs of consumers. Even during an economic downturn, there’s a silver lining.

57. Rizwan Girach, Founder of Chessgammon

The post-pandemic world will not be easy. We will likely find a large number of businesses going bankrupt due to a turbulent economy. As a business, we have removed all debts to prevent any form of bankruptcy. We are also in the process of stockpiling our one company to last for the next few years — to capture the market share of that specific sector. We have also made sure to have the right number of staff to handle the difficult times we will face in the coming months.

58. Marsha Sharpe, EVP of SongDivision

With 98% of our global business being in live corporate events, we have pivoted to offering virtual teambuilding and happy hours for companies such as GSK, SAP, and the general public. We’ve had amazing results, and feedback but have failed in one instance — not having the ability to unmute the participants — with control being held by the Zoom host. Our foray into direct consumers has been fascinating, hosting funerals, birthday parties, and possible graduation ceremonies. Our MC’s host and then create a song live from the input of virtual attendees. These offerings will remain after the crisis.

59. Bridgette Norris, Marketing Director EcoSecretariat

The thing I will be glad to ditch when things return to normal will be virtual interviewing. As much as it has been useful these past weeks, I don’t think it will ever replace meeting someone face to face. The thing I have genuinely loved, that I will use again, is hiring remote workers. This has given me and my team flexible working hours which, in turn, has given the company broader availability. This has been beneficial to staff members with children, but also great for the company’s work productivity. I feel businesses as a whole will, in time, have more remote workers due to how effective this is.

60. Jason Reed, Head of Content at Suppwise

In a post-pandemic world, our business is going all-in on content. While manufacturing and day-to-day office operations have been interrupted, content creation is one area in which our company can double down during the “work from home” era. Moreover, consumer demand for high-quality content has never been higher. With so much of the workforce sidelined at home, people are hungry for anything that can help keep them entertained or informed.

61. Maria Ramos-Chertok, Life Coach

As a trainer on sexual harassment prevention, leadership development, and personal transformation, all my training had been in person. I’m now developing this for virtual participation. I’m piloting a writing workshop online, and when I sent out a survey to query past participants about the issue, 100% of them wanted me to take my courses online. For the sexual harassment work, I’m developing a webinar. Given I pride myself on being able to connect with the folks in my sessions, this new method is a stretch, but one I have to get enthused about, or it will show.

62. Chris Stapleton, Co-founder of Coral Realty

We are a real estate brand that focuses on design, community, and sustainability. Our new vision of the real estate industry is one of enhanced digital experiences and recreating as much of our in-person relationship development in the digital medium to ensure that our client experience is maintained. What will we ditch? Steadfast property showing and open-house norms — and replace them with more flexible options, such as interactive and immersive digital options. The opportunity we see in our industry is unique purchase options as a result of changes to tourism and Airbnb laws and the condensing of the realtor pool due to several realtors not being able to adapt to a new real estate landscape. An early failure was creating content off the assumption that our clientele craved clarity and information on the market. An early success followed when we realized our clientele was seeking content that provided a sense of community and distraction from the current climate.

63. Brian Lim, Founder and CEO of iHeartRaves

We’re curators of all-over print clothing and world leaders in festival fashion. We currently gross about $30 million a year and have been featured in the Inc. 5000 six years in a row. We featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and received a deal from Mark Cuban and Daymond John. Our eCommerce store is in a very challenging position because we sell fashion items to attendees of music festivals. These events are being canceled or postponed all around the country and even throughout the world as the Coronavirus spreads. We have been preparing for a potential recession for multiple years now, and thus have cash built up to withstand a considerable revenue hit. But we did not plan for a health crisis on top of a financial crisis.

We are shifting our marketing from mostly festival clothing to focus also on other uses for our clothing, such as lingerie and loungewear. We’ve also started designing face masks, and for each mask purchased, we’ll be donating one non-printed face mask to nonprofits supporting those on the frontlines. We are receiving thousands of orders and are excited to help anyone we can. If your business is suffering, think critically about how you can pivot in these uncertain times. The economy won’t stay shut down forever, and pivoting can help you weather the storm and keep your business afloat until things return to some sense of normalcy. These pivots can even turn into permanent revenue streams. As an example, when COVID-19 is gone, our masks can still be used by festival-goers to protect their faces from dirt, dust, wind, and sun — while staying fashionable.

64. Roman Peysakhovich, Account Manager at One Desk

We are a commercial cleaning platform where office managers book cleaning services. Typical services would include light cleaning of central areas. Nobody requires this service anymore, and we had to adapt to requests for Coronavirus cleaning. Customers now are looking for sanitization services using foggers and sprayers. We used to send our vendors to do in-person walk-throughs, but now nobody wants a face to face meeting, so we created a mobile app for office managers to send in videos of their space.

65. Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs

With the global shutdown affecting raw materials imports, our business has had to adapt. We’re a supplement manufacturer, and we’ve been considering how to vertically integrate up the supply chain to control the inputs and create our own raw materials for our product line. This would prevent any supply shortages due to environmental concerns. We’re pursuing government grants for research, which would allow us to grow raw materials for supplements aeroponically. Our vision for a post-pandemic world is one where our business can continue manufacturing regardless of any external forces.

66. Valerie Lopez, co-founder of Shoot My Travel

We are a global photography marketplace that connects users with professional photographers around the world. We have announced that we are offering virtual photoshoots for clients in the comfort of their own home. Customers will meet with their pro photographer over FaceTime or Zoom, scout out the best photo spots in the client’s home or garden, then get their phone set up for the session. The photographer will work their magic, taking photographs through their computer screen! We’ve seen massive success with influencers, models, and families booking with these shoots. In the first hours, we were overbooked.

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