As the Coronavirus shutdown continued, many business owners began looking for ways to pivot their business, or even temporarily pursue entirely new business ideas. We connected with our Pepperlane members to hear how they approached the need to rapidly shift their businesses to accommodate this new environment.
We hope their stories will be an encouragement and inspiration to you, as well as a reminder that creativity and innovation can thrive even in the midst of uncertainty.
Inspiring Stories from Pepperlane Members
Kim Raubenheimer - Corporate Wellness Workshops
When COVID-19 hit, Kim's corporate on-site wellness workshop service was hit hard. Instead of staying down, Kim remembered an idea she had had six years before to create a virtual workshop offering. At the time, she had decided it didn't make sense to pursue, but now it was the only option.
In general, Kim felt it was time to reinvent, and the shutdown gave her the push she needed. Now, she just needed to get started. "[At first,] I did not have a solid plan. I just did it after a Pepperlane Boost which always gets me inspired with plans to go crazy and implement so much. But the simplest thing I could do was put it out there. So, I started with my website."
Even though Kim's virtual workshop offering is still new, she feels like she is on the right track for now and moving forward. Kim shared this advice for business owners considering a similar move: "Just do it. You can always change things as you see fit. If you don't try and challenge yourself and possibly fail, how will you learn?"Debbie Brosnan - The Effortless Kitchen
For Debbie, a chef offering at-home cooking for busy families, there was no way to continue her old model after COVID-19 happened. With at-risk family members, the prospect of returning to her in-person cooking business seemed impossible, yet that didn't deter her from finding a way to pivot.
"I felt like I needed to do something to service and inspire others to cook healthy and delicious meals for themselves. I originally thought I was going to offer meal prep workshops, but that did not excite me. I collaborated with Lauren D’Agostino and Lisa Dahl, fellow Pepperlaners, to formulate the virtual cooking class plan and attended a Pricing Boost with Diane. I also ran a test class for free to get some very helpful feedback to tweak my offering. The party idea came out of a conversation with a friend who was thinking about gathering some friends to sign up for my class. It is also exactly what I was going to start offering in-person before things shut down."
Now, Debbie's virtual cooking classes are being offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and she is offering virtual cooking parties as a way for people to customize their experience and connect with their friends.
"I think it’s really helpful to talk to others in your industry for guidance. There is an abundance in collaborating. We all have different styles and niches and we will attract clients that fit our individual styles."
Randi's creative pivot has allowed her to stay nimble, stay active in business, and try something new.
"If you have an idea, start with something small, test it out, and learn from your experiments. And it's OK to be guided by your intuition. You can't know how things will turn out until you try something. One of my favorite quotes is 'If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.' - Anonymous"
Jennifer Mack - Academic Consultant & Tutor
When the stay-at-home orders came through, Jen knew she needed to shift her business quickly. Her tutoring business had been entirely in-person, and that was no longer an option. She quickly moved to 100% virtual, using Zoom to offer online tutoring.
"I knew I needed to continue working with my students, and that in addition, there would be a lot more families out there needing support throughout this pandemic experience. I don’t know if I ever would have even considered tutoring virtually if it weren’t for the quarantine, but it is an absolute positive that has come from this whole difficult situation!"
Jen's typical tutoring methods are very hands-on, so she knew that moving virtual would require some research and creativity. She quickly learned about how to create interactive lessons and activities, as well as how to effectively use Zoom to keep her students engaged. She also created simple assignments that could be emailed to families for the child to use for practice. "I tried to think of everything I could do to be as effective as possible with my students in a new way."
Now that her online tutoring business is thriving, Jen has some advice to share for others considering a business pivot: "I think that if you love what you do and you believe that you are capable in your area of expertise, then you can figure out how to be successful in ways you may have never considered before. Go back to your core mission for starting your business (in my case, to help struggling students gain confidence and increase their academic skills) and think creatively about how to continue to do that. The world needs what you have to offer - don’t let a pandemic get in the way!"