COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the globe, and small businesses continue to struggle. However, with challenges comes new ways to succeed. Fitness studios, restaurants, medical offices, retail establishments, and community-based organizations are adapting in creative ways to continue to serve their customers in these extreme times.
Health And Wellness
The health and wellness industry focuses on hands-on care and client interaction. COVID-19 has hit this industry hard, forcing closures as many of these businesses are categorized as “non-essential.” Some small businesses have found innovative ways to continue to bring their services to the community. By doing so, they continue to provide work for employees and give those in quarantine some much-needed self-care. Consider the following examples:
- DocPace, a waiting room management system, has recognized the need to keep waiting rooms clear and open to minimize the risk of transmission. Their app helps clinics manage the rescheduling of appointments. It also helps clinics convert their parking lot into a waiting room using text messages and push notifications.
- Other doctors in smaller practices went virtual to minimize patient interactions with staff while still providing care. eVisit is helping one new sleep apnea clinic to virtually consult with new and current patients. Arizona Pain transferred nearly 50% of their appointments to telemedicine in less than a week. Our team is helping many of these providers like, this Florida-based therapist collect payments with billing schedules for on-going virtual visits.
- A yoga studio in Baltimore switched from in-studio classes to on-demand and regularly scheduled yoga classes using Facebook Live. This keeps teachers employed at their normal scale of pay and delivers high-quality yoga instruction to members who need it right now.
- Obtain Strength in Tulsa decided to suspend member billing schedules when the mayor of Tulsa closed all gyms. Within an hour of this decision, the incredulous and grateful owner explained that the community outpouring of members willing to pay through the closure allowed him to stay in business. As a PaySimple customer, Obtain Strength is able to accept credit card payments online to make this easier and safer for all involved.
- Flo Yoga and Cycle in Chandler, Arizona lets users rent their spin bikes for live-streamed classes.
- A personal trainer set up a gated PDF workout plan and meal plan, delivered directly to customer email inboxes. This allows for a subscription plan that is recurring, generating a new, consistent stream of revenue to help their business during this time (and help them recover in the long term).
One thing is clear: people care so much about the well-being of their local small business owners they’re willing to pay ahead or adjust the way they are used to receiving services. And, as some are finding, this switch is an enjoyable benefit for many clients.
For more information on how to adapt to COVID-19 demands for your health and wellness business, click here.
Home services companies saw a decrease in appointments as COVID-19 continues, but providers have adapted:
- Many home repair companies are relying on consumers to keep their employees safe, but repairs must continue. In some cases, employees can simply drop off parts for consumer-completed repairs. For in-home repairs that require a technician, companies are increasing sanitation procedures, cleaning as they go.
- In Brainerd, Massachusetts, the local internet provider, CTC, recognized the importance of staying connected. They offer free internet upgrades to handle increased traffic and provide free WIFI hotspots for everyone to stay connected.
For more information on how to adapt to COVID-19 demands for your home services business, click here.
Restaurants And Food Services
The COVID-19 crisis had a devastating effect on restaurant and food services. This industry is made up of many small, one-store businesses with local employees paid an hourly wage plus tips. Overall, more than 15 million people make their living restaurants across the U.S. For months, reservations had decreased, but soon, many restaurant dining rooms closed to patrons, and restaurants had to change the way they do business.
Here are some examples of restaurant and food services who are keeping the lights on and feeding people.
- Like many restaurants, Soul Taco in Richmond, Virginia converted to takeout or delivery only. Then they went one further. They converted their dining room into a pop-up grocery store so people wouldn’t have to brave supermarkets. They also started selling family meal kits for taco night.
- In addition to take out and delivery options, Abrusci’s Fire & Vine in Lakewood, Colorado offers prepared meal kits and grocery items that are hard to find such as eggs, pasta, and rice.
- The Swirlery in Orlando, Florida curates wines to be picked up in the parking lot. Call to discuss the wines you prefer and your price points, and their master sommelier will pick out wines and deliver them to your car.
- The Nantucket Culinary Center prepares and cooks pre-ordered family meals, and for every meal you buy they donate a meal to a family in need.
- The Sunderland Farm Collaborative in western Massachusetts brought farms across the region together to coordinate deliveries of fresh produce, baked goods, and other local foods. This co-op format was up and running in less than a week.
- In Tucson, Welcome Diner offers a pay-what-you-can staff meal. They extended the concept of a family meal (the meal restaurant employees sit down to together before their shift) to feed their wider community.
- Schmidt’s Pastry Cottage in Utah went extreme in extreme times: they give all of their bread until they cannot give it away anymore. It has kept employees working and focused and helps people in need. In return, businesses and community members have flooded the shop with support in the form of gratitude and donations to keep going.
This is just a sample of the ways restaurants and food services changed their model to continue to serve their community and support their employees.
Retail And Service Establishments
Although the restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit business sectors, other retail and service industries are feeling the impact, too. Here are some of the ways that businesses are changing the way they work with consumers.
- One West Coast music lesson center and PaySimple customer converted to 100% online music lessons, appointments for no-contact instrument repair servicing and collecting payments online.
- On the East Coast, Asheville Strong created a central website for people to purchase gift cards for local small businesses.
- Bridgemill Animal Hospital in Canton, Georgia implemented curbside pickups that includes retrieving animals from their owners’ vehicles, taking their history, examining the animal inside, and then returning them to the car. If you can’t make it to the office, they will come to your home and take it to the vet for you. In an area with many assisted living facilities, this type of service can provide tremendous comfort.
- Mara Hair Salon and Studio now offers online consultations with stylists and take-home coloring kits to keep those roots fresh. Curbside pickup of hair color and haircare products is available, as is delivery of not only all things hair-related but also other items sold in their shop.
Even with social distancing and safety precautions, these businesses manage to put customer service at the top of their list.
Community-based organizations are the foundation of every city and town. These organizations are adapting to the new normal under COVID-19 restrictions.
- In Baltimore City, a city that struggles with high rates of poverty and unemployment even in the best of times, City Council president Brandon Scott created a Baltimore City Asset Map, which directs city residents to resources that include food, healthcare, and other assistance.
- Also in Baltimore, The Food Project brings food to vulnerable and poverty-stricken families. They are also continuing to offer online classes and collaborations surrounding the pandemic. Collaborators in this effort include the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, BridgeLinks Corps, Life Center Ministries, and Somebody Cares Baltimore.
- Many churches that rely on passing the plate during services have changed their model to keep their doors open. Although they typically take donations at the end of Sunday services via paper checks and cash, the lack of in-person services has made this practice obsolete. PaySimple is helping some of these churches set up online stores so members can make one-time and recurring donations online to keep the spirit alive.
Small community organizations are making a big difference in their local communities by shifting to new technologies and outreach efforts.
Organizations Helping The Community
Here are a few examples of businesses that re-imagined their current offerings to support to organizations and individuals in need.
- Honey Salt, a fine-dining restaurant in Las Vegas, teamed up with Clark County to prepare and deliver meals to housebound or vulnerable populations and their families. This includes seniors and people with underlying health conditions.
- Salad and Go is an Arizona fast-casual eatery that is helping their community directly. Beyond donations to local nonprofits, they offering free breakfast burritos and lunch salads to workers affected by this crisis. For example, grocery workers get free grub on Tuesdays and healthcare workers on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Among many other distilleries and breweries, the Patapsco Distilling Co. in Sykesville, Maryland switched from whiskey to hand sanitizer production to meet the growing demand for healthcare workers and first responders.
- The Mt. Royal Soap Company and Charm City Meadworks joined forces and produced 25,000 units of hand sanitizing spray for correctional facilities and police departments across Maryland.
- In Brea, California, AST Sportswear moved away from t-shirts and started sewing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities. The company provides the masks free of charge to local medical offices.
These connected companies prove that we are stronger working together.
In This Together
There is not a single industry untouched by the changes wrought from COVID-19. If your business needs help navigating these changes, the PaySimple team is here. We can help you set up an online store, send invoices electronically, and accept payments with online payment forms.
Get in touch to see how we can help.