Small Business and Startup Pivot Strategies to Stay Competitive post COVID-19

David Carmell
4 min readJun 17, 2020

COVID-19 has changed the world and the business landscape irreversibly. For some, the federal intervention and ensuing government rescue programs may be too little too late. For others, including anyone who has ever dreamed of starting and growing a business, opportunity abounds. For those looking to invest in and support small business, this moment comes along once in a generation.

A new era of inclusion, collaboration and innovation is about to begin, and online platforms will help lead the charge. Superior digital experience will become the new normal, which then opens access and opportunity to more people and businesses than ever before. Small business will drive this new age of customer experience and financial inclusion, enabling individuals, businesses, and enterprises alike to interact and transact in unprecedented ways.

A Call for Dramatic Action

This is not the time to play it safe. Rather, the opposite is true. Leaders need to step up, be unconventional and take dramatic action or risk being left behind.

Doubling down on efficiency and survival mode amid disruption is far too risky. Not coming up with new growth and innovation strategies is unacceptable. Failing to develop external partnerships and new business/product models that focus on stakeholder value is a non-starter. It is imperative to create a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, demonstrating how much more your business can and will do. It is time to drop the silos and reach for the stars — not unlike the Manhattan Project or the Space Race — and do something big for your organization and your ecosystem.

Shifting Online for Sales and Engagement

Small businesses and startups facing the pandemic are rushing to move more of their product/service online. Their first inclination is to see what they can sell online, and mainly focus on commerce. Instead, these companies should consider how various online platforms are leverageable to aid the business through customer engagement and support. Consider the implications of an online model, being sure it benefits your customers, not just your own operations. Think about the broader shifts to online learning, telemedicine, or remote sessions with accountants or lawyers. Then focus on business transactions and the other correlated opportunities that will present themselves as these new markets mature.

To that end, pay close attention to platforms. They are the key to the future. In the race to deliver the best customer experiences, companies will increasingly turn to platforms to accelerate interactions and transactions, giving super-participation powers to users. Platforms create deeper partnerships and collaborations, allowing businesses to offer free products and services with far-reaching capabilities and benefits to clients, prospects, and business/referral partners. The results? A fast track to growth, a better map for navigating change, improved customer experiences, and broader financial inclusion. That is a recipe for success.

Consider Robinhood (young professionals), Tinder (young adults), Shopify (online store startups) and select other platforms. These companies demonstrated how changing the user experience for a market segment can trigger successful industry disruption and virtuous cycles. Platforms enable these moves. They are ready made and do all the hard work for you, redefining customer experience and the modern digital marketplace.

Post COVID-19, the typical constraints on small business owners and investors will disappear, allowing them to hone-in on new opportunities and fresh approaches. Ones that are not proxies for conventional wisdom, the status quo or groupthink. But rather a way forward that lays the groundwork for the new era of Post COVID-19 success, showing how virtual and business life can coexist and succeed together on a grand scale. A true solution to the challenges of the current crisis.

Investing in an Ecosystem

Entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for innovative pivots will need help. The best way to counter market disruptions and grow is to start with the ecosystem in front of you. This means your teams, prospects, clients, referral partners and others that make up your company’s constituency. A digital marketplace and business development platform from DealRockit makes this process much easier. The company’s multi-marketplace, customer engagement software, optimizes customer experience and financial inclusion, making it simpler to scale and fund innovation by bringing together buyer, seller, investor, capital seeker, and service providers into an inclusive collaborative space. Platforms like DealRockit will prove invaluable for small business efforts post COVID-19, as owners, partners, and investors strategize about innovation and ways to move the economy past the pandemic.

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David Carmell

David Carmell is the CEO and Founder of DealRockit — the digital marketplace and membership community that is revolutionizing how businesses scale.