When the pandemic arrived in 2020, the economic shutdown caused a disruption for nearly all industries. But as summer arrived, there began to be a shift. Some companies continued to struggle, with some even shuttering in mere weeks, while others survived and even seemed to be experiencing growth.
Take Massachusetts-based T3 Expo, a company that specializes in corporate events and trade shows. As they watched COVID-19 spreading across Europe, their leadership began mapping out various scenarios of how to remain flexible in a fast-changing situation.
Their opportunity to test this planning arrived when they received a call from the Javits Center in New York City, seeking help in transforming the convention venue into a temporary hospital. T3 Expo knew the layout of the Javits Center and had experience working with multiple vendors and moving pieces when planning events. This gave them a background that allowed them to coordinate efforts between electricians, plumbers, and manufacturers, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agents and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The process was not only accepted by T3 but even framed as an opportunity. T3 Expo sees how this transition from events planning to coordinating an emergency healthcare facility expands their expertise and equips them for a variety of opportunities in the future.
Preparing Your Team for What’s Next
Nobody anticipated COVID-19 or the circumstances that came with it, but there are certain qualities that were cultivated in companies that weathered the storm. You can apply them in your business, too:
- Flexibility: Companies that were already accustomed to pivoting to meet customers’ needs, adopting new technology to improve productivity and looking for ways to grow were better positioned to adjust to the new circumstances. If they were able to see COVID-19 as a challenging opportunity, it was easier to make changes.
- Communication: From talking with employees about their concerns, to making it clear to customers what was being done to keep them safe, companies that communicated well were better positioned to thrive through the pandemic.
- Empathy: While every company knew that they couldn’t do marketing as usual, some went further, telling audiences, “Yes, this is really, really We are feeling it, too.” Empathy is an important quality in a company because your customers want to be reminded that you are just people, doing business with other people.
- Creativity: From shifting eat-in dining to curbside pickup, from company holiday parties to online scavenger hunts, thriving pandemic companies looked for new ways to sell and new ways to support employees.
These qualities aren’t just good for COVID-19. They’re valuable even when things are going exactly right. Take a look at a few more examples of resourcefulness:
- Box ‘n Burn, a fitness company, realized quickly that lockdown orders and social distancing requirements were going to make a true reopening in the summer of 2020 a challenge. Instead, they moved classes outside and kept their clients safe and fit.
- Chris Cakes, known for their pancake breakfast catering that flips pancakes onto customers’ plates, got creative on Saturdays during the lockdown and flipped free pancakes directly into cars in St. Louis. Customers were safe and the pancakes kept flipping.
- When TOV, a furniture designer and manufacturer in the United States, saw demand increase exponentially during the pandemic, they launched a direct-sales website and quickly hired and trained a full staff to support customer service and marketing programs.
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