Innovation refers to the act of innovating; introducing or creating new methods for a pre-existing custom, activity or rite. Innovation has been the buzzword ever since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have scrambled around searching for ways to innovate and continue to provide services to their customers despite the restrictions in place. This article will focus on small businesses, and we’ll be asking the question, what does innovation look like to small businesses. Before we discuss that, let’s see some of the benefits of innovation in small businesses.
- Innovation provides a different means of income for small businesses.
- Innovation helps small businesses stay afloat in this increasingly competitive economy.
- Innovation inspires small business owners and their customers.
- Innovation is necessary for small businesses to continue to exist. They no longer have the option to remain the same.
Now let’s answer the question, what does innovation look like to small businesses. We’ll be tackling two industries in the article; fashion and restaurants. How have small businesses in the fashion and food industry innovated since the social distancing rules have been put in place?
- Fashion Industry – Small businesses in the fashion industry have had to switch to a majorly online market base. This switch was inevitable even before the pandemic. More people are shopping online and finding clothes and styles they would typically not find around them. Online clothes shopping gives customers an almost inexhaustible catalogue to select from. Small clothing businesses have had to move online and focus on shipping and delivery instead of having physical locations.
Even though lockdown rules have been eased people are still scared to go out for no reason, therefore, there’s less window shopping. People also have less disposable income so they are less likely to go into random shops. Having an online presence will introduce small businesses to more customers and give them a chance to expand their customer base from local to global.
- Restaurants – More restaurants are partnering with UberEats and other food delivery apps. This is important because they get to hold on their existing clientele and also get new clients. Since people aren’t going out as much as they used to and tourism has reduced immensely, restaurants have had to adapt to a food delivery system.
Some restaurants are offering alternative ways to eat food in their restaurants. Some have added more tables but fewer chairs. Some restaurants are even using bubble tents to adhere to social distancing rules.
Copyright: Getty Images.
These bubbles help restaurants seat more customers, and they can seat them safely.
The pandemic has hit small businesses the hardest with millions of small business owners filing for bankruptcy. Businesses like bars, movie theatres and other businesses that rely on in-person patronage are also struggling. Businesses that also rely on tourism were hit hard due to travel bans. More than ever, small businesses are being forced to innovate or get left behind. For more on this topic, click here.