Of course, few people start a business thinking they are going to falter. However, lots of business ventures do fail. While this is often due to lack of preparation and/or lack of business experience, businesses also crumble because of things that are out of everyone’s control. Case and point: COVID-19. The global pandemic’s lockdowns ended the aspirations of many businesspeople. No amount of planning could have prepared any business for the debacle that ensued from that virus.
Some businesses were better positioned to weather the coronavirus storm. As businesses dropped in rapid succession, companies like Nobul, AMC Theaters, and Securitas were able to thrive.
While some can be chalked up to luck of the draw (Zoom certainly hit at the right time), a lot of businesses that thrived did so because they were either in the right industry (think UberEATS, etc.) at the right time or they pivoted to another business model (e.g. AMC movie theaters).
For instance, the real estate market did well in spite of everything and companies already operating in that sector were able to grow. Nobul was one such company.
“Most companies struggle the first two years, but we’ve been very lucky. We launched in 2017 and have been steadily expanding into new markets across North America to make purchasing real estate as easy and painless as possible for customers. That is a beautiful thing,” said Regan McGee, the entrepreneur CEO who founded Nobul.
Other sectors had to pivot and/or look for investor funding to stay afloat. AMC, which operates over 450 chains across the United States is an example of a company that successfully found ways to keep the business going.
“AMC Theatres is in an excellent financial position to welcome you back to our movie theatres,” said Adam Aron, CEO/ President of AMC as they planned their reopening.
Aron was able to release that statement because AMC shifted their business focus to their on-demand offerings while theaters were closed, which, in part, helped the company raise over a half billion dollars from investors.
Another company that turned a bad situation into a positive outcome was Swedish security provider Securitas.
“I have spent more time with clients than I would normally . . . Being visible and present for clients in a tough moment will pay off in the long term,” Securitas CEO Magnus Ahlqvist told Fast Company.
Now, Securitas is on the cutting edge of COVID-19 access control screening best practices, showing their ability to adapt and overcome paid off.
The companies highlighted were not the only companies to turn a bad situation into a teachable moment for future business leaders. Best and worst practices will be studied for years to come. Others did it, too, and all of them had a few things in common. The companies who came out ahead:
1) Stayed agile enough to pivot when/ if needed.
2) Were in an industry that saw expansion in the midst of COVID-19.
3) Had CEOs who saw growth opportunities where others didn’t.
4) Their business leaders created a work environment that was conducive to accepting rapid change for the betterment of the business.
People will study pandemic successes and failures for years to come. We will see the actions of these companies emulated and avoided. The ones who succeeded set the standard on how to conduct business during trying times and will long be remembered after the pandemic has passed.