Example of a small businesses pragmatic approach to adapting to new lockdown restrictions

Businesses, particularly small businesses, have suffered during the recent lockdowns. The most recent tier-4 restrictions have meant that non-essential shops were required to close their doors at very short notice.

However, small businesses have some advantages over big retailers when it’s impossible to know what COVID-19 will impose restrictions next week or even tomorrow. Big companies often have entrenched ways of doing things, established processes and lots of red tape. Small businesses, on the other hand, have the flexibility to be more nimble and adapt quickly in a changing marketplace – essential for the 2020 we’ve been having. They have (like we all have) had to change plans very quickly and learn to adapt.

MVP click and collect service

Click and collect sign in a shop window.

Instead of waiting weeks or months to create a fancy website with eCommerce functionality, this business created the same outcome rapidly using simple tools. They posted a flyer on their door with a mobile number, allowing customers to send their order details via Whatsapp and collect them from the shop.

The cost for this new service will likely have been less than £2 – photocopying the flyer and potentially getting a new mobile number for taking orders.

This might be their MVP while waiting for their fancy new website to be built, or it might be their final product. Either way, it’s allowing them to continue trading.

This is an excellent example of being creative with what you have rather than waiting for the right conditions.

This example will not apply to all small businesses or sectors. However, it works for this shop because they had a lot of repeat customers who knew what they wanted (when they could go into the shop) and often bought the same product time and again.

I’ve written about businesses adapting earlier in the year, and it’s just as important and relevant now. The principle of not waiting for conditions to be ‘just right’ but experimenting with different ways to achieve your goal is an essential lesson in survival in 2020. Conclusion: relaxing protocols and allowing ground-up experimentation are ways bigger businesses can adapt. Those who do it well have the strongest chance of surviving and thriving.

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