There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses in every industry; however, some organizations have found an opportunity in disguise. While some were well-positioned before the pandemic struck, others leaned into the situation they were given and found new ways to do business. These local businesses have experienced success during COVID-19, and they have some lessons to share.
SheerID, established locally in 2011, created a platform that instantly verifies eligibility for promotional offers, such as deals for students or free meals for first responders, allowing businesses to offer targeted campaigns. They quickly shifted their focus to assisting communities affected by COVID-19; as a result, SheerID surpassed the goals they set at the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic hit.
Jake Weatherly, SheerID’s CEO, says their foundation of success laid within their previously established remote workforce. Virtual meetings were the norm before COVID-19. “Our leadership was already geographically dispersed,” he says, “so we were able to adjust and strengthen those relationships without having to make fundamental changes to how we communicate with one another.”
Pre-COVID-19, SheerID verified 30,000 or 40,000 nurses and physicians per month for promotional offers. At the beginning of the pandemic, they experienced a “wave” of requests from large brands to support the work of professionals on the front lines. They recently expanded their Verified Identity Network, which can verify 2.5 billion people around the world, to now include over 31 million medical professionals and care workers in the US, UK, France, and Germany.
And Update My Website LLC
And Update My Website LLC creates, manages, and develops web content and marketing strategies for businesses with an online presence. With many businesses relying heavily on internet sales during COVID-19, updating web content has given AUMW an opportunity to shine. Jay Thompson, the company’s founder, explains that a thoroughly established web and mobile presence, alongside an open business mindset, is the key to success for companies desiring to reach new consumers.
“We have clients who formerly thought of themselves as local businesses who now understand that they need to become national or worldwide businesses,” Thompson says.
One of their clients, manufacturing outdoor furniture, adapted by establishing a mobile device-friendly shopping experience, providing delivery and shipping options outside the local area.
“People all over the country are buying more outdoor furniture,” Thompson says. “Taverns and eateries are putting tables outside, and individuals are eating meals outdoors when they can’t go out as they did before COVID-19. Before the pandemic, we improved their website’s photography and created personalized product information for different shopper types—from individuals to campgrounds to restaurants. The retailer now attracts growing numbers of buyers from all over the country.”
Another client selling luxury watches made similar changes. “They’ve shifted into thinking about themselves as a national retailer,” Thompson says. “They now see the website as essential, rather than a secondary effort.” They expanded their investment in high-quality photography, cultivating a deeper connection between the merchandise and the consumer. A navigable mobile site is more likely to attract a worldwide audience.
Thompson recommends strengthening a company’s website rather than relying exclusively on advertising through social media. “Just having a Facebook page isn’t enough,” Thompson says. “If you have your own website, you’ve got something tangible. You’ve got your own property and you can modify it and promote it.”
Overhead Door Co.
Paul Burrell, President and COO of Overhead Door Co., says they’ve weathered the COVID-19 storm due to the camaraderie and dedication amongst their staff. “Everyone was committed to doing anything they needed to do to keep the company moving forward even if it’s not their normal job,” says Burrell. “A general attitude of everyone being positive and wanting to get through it has helped.”
Overhead Door Co. has been in business in Lane County since 1966 and locally owned since 1984. As summer vacations were canceled across the state, people shifted to spending their savings on home improvements rather than vacations or other temptations. “We’re doing a lot of remodeling projects,” Burrell says. “People are stuck at home looking at the same door for a long time.”
The company formerly had a high number of walk-in customers purchasing things like remote controls and keypads. With walk-in access restricted now, they’ve increased the ease of curbside service for customers in their parking lot. Despite the increase in business, the company has retooled some internal practices that they think will be permanent changes even when things go back to “normal.”