At the time of writing this, we are in week four of isolation and with no idea as to what shape we will be in when this crisis is over. As a food and hospitality business coach and consultant, I know we are in for a tough time as we navigate our way through the levels. I expect we will face an extended period without tourists followed by an opening of the border with Australia which will mean many businesses will be reopening to a scarcity of customers.
Many businesses will have to adapt to survive which will mean creating new income streams and, in some cases, a totally new way of doing business.
How do we do that, you may ask?
I would suggest that you make a list of:
Everything your business could possibly do and provide (there being no such thing as a silly idea).
All of your business assets for example: location, 150 square metres of under-uterlised dining space, loading dock, 8 car parks, 2,500 Facebook followers, 789 person database of regular clients, food production equipment that you have and what it could produce for you, 2 very capable chefs able to produce a large range of pastry and savory items, etc, etc. There is likely hidden talents within your staff so engage with them in this exercise, including everything that is suggested.
Customer ambassadors, supplier businesses and partner business from the same area with a complimentary mindset.
Associations, networks together with groups that form part of your community and ecosystem
Anything else that you have in respect of your business, for example, mobile equipment and other sites.
Now assemble 6 or so different people from inside and outside of your business to brainstorm the opportunities you could create with the items identified in your lists. Ideally this should be developed around people’s needs in a post Covid-19 world and not what was expected prior to the lockdown. Identify which sector of your community will have money and which won’t, and setting out to understand their needs, desires and motivations.
The task then is to identify the relationship between your best opportunities and your communities needs and desires and to enable you to create services and products to meet these needs.
Are you excited yet? This is a fabulous opportunity to redefine your business so if you aren’t excited, you need to get excited! Most of us have significant underuterlised resources within our business and available to us, so let’s think outside the square and what we were comfortable with pre Covid-19, because in many cases, success will be a measure of how creative we can be.
The following story highlights how the value of things change, relative to how you think about them, what you do with them and where the demand sits.
Andre and Tim had a small business clearing sections of unwanted over grown trees. They charged the owners significant money to cut down the trees and remove them from the premises, disposing of them together with any accompanying debris. They shredded the debris, cut and split the wood and sold the product back to the same communities that employed them as premium firewood and garden mulch.
The original person that hired them to have the trees removed, saw the trees as a problem. Andre and Tim charged them appropriately in respect of the perceived size of their problem, but saw the opportunity in their unwanted asset, converting the trees into something everyone with a fireplace or garden needed for the coming winter. Tim and Andre realised a threefold income stream:
- They were paid to cut down the trees
- They were paid to remove the trees and debris
- They were paid for the product produced into premium firewood and garden mulch
This example illustrates the opportunity for something to have a totally different value between different people. To further emphasis my point, another firewood entrepreneur I know, bought a portable sawmill and milled the rejected logs he collected from the local port into rough sawn timber. This allowed him to make shipping pallets together with firewood yielding a much higher value than simply firewood from the rejected logs that were deemed to have no value.
There are opportunities all around us if we stop and look with often with very little required to uncover these opportunities aside from just thinking more creatively within our existing business assets and networks. I recommend you download a free copy of my e-book “Thinking Differently” from my website, using this to look hard at what’s around you. Get excited about your future and the many twist and turns it may take.