The 2020 Covid year wreaked havoc everywhere AND created, for some, a powerful time to test new ideas, to take a hard look at our existing business models and ask and answer that all-important question, OK So Now What?
Once the initial shut-down happened, everybody was talking about pivots. For some of Do Your Thing’s floral design clients, this meant deferring weddings and other events into 2021 (along with all the expected progress payments 🙁 ) and offering contactless bouquet delivery. For other entrepreneurs who were accustomed to meeting with other actual human beings IRL, it meant offering on-line alternatives where possible. None of these could really replace expected 2020 Revenue.
But for one client who offered retreat experiences pre-pandemic, something amazing happened.
This Client is just one of the many who was able, during this unanticipated downtime, to put time into an online offering and an online membership that had always been on The List, but which was just impossible to ever really get to or prioritize when the main business — the retreats — was bringing in so much money (and requiring so much woman-power to manage and pull off). That entire business pre-pandemic hinged on these retreats, and it seemed impossible that something virtual could do much more than just keep the lights on and the wheels slowly turning.
Except, guess what happened?
In lieu of a primary business with fairly high costs — ‘cause that’s how the retreat business is (think of all those accommodation costs, meals, guest instructors, masseuses, all the other little luxuries people want when they’re going to take a break from their regular existence, all of which are paid generally in advance with payments from participants collected over time, ugh, the cash flow challenges!) — suddenly, when this business HAD TO pivot on-line, everything changed.
Because the costs of offering on-line programs and on-line memberships are about a ¼ the costs of offering retreats, the business has managed to pay off debt AND has more money in the bank than it would have, had this pivot not been required. What looked like catastrophe in May and June of this year, by November was revealed to be a triumph.
Thanks to this unanticipated pandemic-related experience — i.e., having to come up with something else when the usual thing couldn’t happen anymore, this business is entering 2021 in a stronger position, and with a better business model, one that will still offer retreats, albeit fewer, augmented by strong on-line revenue drivers. It’s that ole all-your-eggs-in-one-basket idea. Diversifying revenue “lanes” made all the difference — not just survival but thrive-al (ok, not a word).
For one entrepreneur in particular, the catastrophe of this year has actually made the business so much stronger, less reliant on debt, more resilient and able to grow in new and more sustainable ways.
In the midst of all the terrible news, all the grief and challenge and anxiety of this crazy year, it’s comforting to know that it IS actually possible to make something good out of all this woe. What opportunity could there be, in all of this, to re-examine how your business works and try something new?