From yoga, to watching uplifting animal videos and listening to your favorite song on repeat: people find inspiration in all manner of weird and wonderful ways.
Unfortunately – unless said animals develop opposable thumbs and drastically upskill – not all can be applied to a business context.
Fortunately, from a small business standpoint, there’s a lot of inspiration out there – especially when looking to our peers and seeing how small business owners have channeled their creativity into conjuring up headline-grabbing campaigns and staying afloat in the face of COVID-19.
To help you find inspiration for your own organization, we’ll explore some of the best uses of creativity and share some much-needed positivity for the year ahead – which doesn’t require forcing your body into unnatural positions or daily renditions of Living On A Prayer.
Dunsters Farm in Bury (UK)
Since the start of COVID-19, we’ve seen organisations adapt and pivot to bring entire operations and workforces online. For many small businesses, this has presented a whole host of new opportunities and customers.
One inspirational case in point is Dunsters Farm in Bury. In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, 95% of its business dried up following the closure of local schools, hospitals, restaurants and cafes, which made up its clientele.
In response, Tom and Hannah, the brother and sister team at the helm of Dunsters Farm, moved into business-to-consumer (B2C) sales and immediately started building a new website for their own online shop.
Since then, they haven’t looked back – easily achieving their initial target of £10,000 B2C sales a week, which they’re now looking to double by engaging with media, futureproofing operations and actively partnering with other small local suppliers.
BoxFit in New Delhi (India)
Throughout the pandemic, exercise has played a crucial role in keeping people active and boosting wellbeing. But with gyms closing and sports suspended around the world, having the motivation to remain active was easier said than done.
In response, a wave of fitness facilities shifted online. Rahul Kaul, founder of BoxFit, was one such business owner to start hosting virtual workouts, after figuring out how to make sure his instructors could keep paying their bills when faced with closure.
By streaming live interactive sessions on YouTube, this pandemic-induced pivot meant BoxFit could stay connected to their members and reach new followers, as well as keeping their instructors in employment.
Fortunately, Rahul was not alone and despite the fact that the fitness industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, the resilience and creativity shown by small business owners in the sector has kept the world moving – physically and fiscally!
The education sector (global)
Okay, I know we’re deviating slightly from the subject matter of small businesses. But for the sake of this article, we’re going to put the politics of what defines a small business to one side – because we can’t avoid mentioning the inspiration and creativity displayed by the education sector.
Education is at the very core of society, so when schools and faculties were forced to close, a desperate scramble ensued to ensure students were still able to receive this essential service – without it, a whole generation risked losing an entire, potentially formative, year.
To this end, technology was indispensable. Seemingly overnight, teachers were required to host lessons online and tools like Webex Teams became central to supporting faculties to quickly scale to virtual learning with a high level of security.
To date, Cisco has helped schools and universities on all corners of globe. But it’s educators who deserve the highest praise – and infinite gold stars – for their feats of steadfastness and creativity, which have helped millions of students in more ways than we can possibly begin to imagine.
Any small businesses that go above and beyond
Along with teachers, healthcare professionals are heroes of the highest order, to whom we are eternally grateful. But extra special mention is also required for the many small businesses who have pivoted their own operations to support the sector in any way possible.
In the UK, BrewDog was one such business to bolster healthcare by adapting to make hand sanitizer at its distillery in Aberdeen. Since then, BrewDog has also offered its closed venues to the government as temporary vaccination centres.
Similarly, 3D printing companies around the world were quick to pivot and focus their attentions on the production of personal protective equipment for hospital workers when this potentially life-saving apparatus was in short supply.
At Cisco, we too have tried to do our bit with our support to rapidly deploy temporary hospitals to provide care in mobile locations. Combined with our aiding of clinical continuity during crisis, with the enhancing of collaboration between departments and securing of sensitive patient data.
Be inspirational in 2021
Of course, many small businesses probably have their hands full with the well-documented challenges that are still facing us today. So, this article is far from a rallying cry for you to suddenly pivot your operations and embark on a mission to become inspirational.
Instead, we’re simply here to show you that small acts of kindness and creativity can go a long way in inspiring others and touching lives – something that we’ll continue to need as the world wages its war against COVID-19.
To this end, Cisco can support your small business in anything and everything from security and connectivity, to collaboration and our always-on community.
But best of all, we can make it easier to finance the technology you need with our easylease payment plan. Simply add up your hardware, software and services costs, then divide by 36 – that’s the amount you’ll pay every month with zero interest.
In doing so, our hope is to free up your time and cognitive capacity to focus on the day-to-day inspiring of your staff and customers. For any queries, big or small, get in touch today to see how we can support you on your journey to success in this year – and beyond.
Explore how Cisco has been helping to support small businesses to recover from the economic impact from COVID-19 here.