Diary of a Small Business Owner (3/17/20) - What Pivot Looks Like
Maybe the Irish weren't lucky, actually. Maybe they just pivoted.
By some accounts the term "luck of the Irish" dates back to the gold rush when immigrants went chasing after gold and silver and had some success. Of course, striking it rich probably had more to do with calculation and trial and error than luck. We're hoping the same holds true for us.
When Batch began, we were exclusively a e-commerce company. After a few months, we began selling corporate gifts. It wasn't until over a year into starting the company that we opened our retail store (which, as I mentioned, is often 75% of our monthly income this time of year).
While this isn't a true pivot but more of simply adding a sales channel/vertical (going by the technical business definition of pivot (but may we never forget the Ross Geller one)), the business is different than the three of us founders dreamed up seven years ago.
But now - temporarily - we'll be returning to our roots as an online company that also does corporate sales. It's time to stretch and flex some old muscles.
We'll be reassigning staff - those able and willing - to our warehouse to run fulfillment for what we hope are increased online and care package orders. We'll need people to blog, get active for us on social, photograph products, tell the stories of our makers, and work on UX. We'll be calling past clients and seeing if there is anything we can do for them while still building our network of corporate and business friends who will need us for gifts when we all are free to gather and meet again. (I think it's ok to plant seeds in a storm. Some will take root and appreciate the water.)
We've announced a new care package program for companies with remote workers (many for the first time) who need to stay connected. You can shop online and send gifts to stay connected with the folks you won't be seeing at the annual meeting as planned.
And, most of all, we have a new and improved way to sort our thousands - yes, thousands - of products on hand. Drill down by purveyor if you want. And if you need to stock your pantry without going to the grocery, we've got a way you can do that and support dozens of small businesses at the same time. (Plus, all pantry items are 30% off right now.)
So that's what we're working on next. If people keep shopping, we're here for it and when we come out on the other side of things, we'll be able to say that we were lucky. But we'll also be able to say that we worked hard, we planned well, we never stopped telling stories, and kept trying to change as we needed to.
As I wrote my team this morning,
"Yesterday was a very good day for online and corporate sales. If we can maintain that pace, we will all be in a very good place once social distancing is no longer the norm and our store reopens. Thanks to all who hustled yesterday to keep telling the Batch story and letting people know we're still here."
I began keeping this diary on Friday, March 13. You can read all of these posts by clicking here.