Case of a thriving entrepreneur in Covid-19 times

Reality is that this is a really bad time for business. Covid-19 has put a dent on 70 per cent of the businesses I know. One of my friends who runs an eatery tells me that his revenue has dropped by almost 80 per cent.  This is despite the fact that he has adjusted to the times by offering free food delivery. The curfew hasn’t helped his business either. My other friend is an events’ organiser and pre Covid-19, she had work every week and had contracted over 30 people on her staff. But since the Government instituted the public gatherings ban, her business has pretty much stalled.

She is now home full-time trying to figure out what to do. On the contrary, another friend, let’s call him Ben, seems to be taking it all in stride and milking the situation for all its worth. He has opened an errand and delivery service.  He explained to me that since his travel company is not making any money currently, he is using his skillset in dealing with bulk consumer orders in his new venture. It was easy for him to adjust. Even as we were having this conversation, he was dealing with a customer’s order.   

Ben saw an opportunity and jumped right in. But again, since I have known him, he has always been like that. This errand and delivery business is his seventh operational business. So what is the X factor?  I asked, obviously impressed by his nose for business.

 “The customer,” he simply replied. He further explained that since everyone is in a panic mode, it meant that people were willing to pay extra to get things done for them. The problem with that, he was quick to point out is that eventually, the consumer will find a cheaper alternative and that will be the end of the short time partnership. But in the meantime, he would rake in the profits. I loved his business model.  It was rooted in reality.

He knows what he is doing and he knows that his revenue wave may not last. Before setting out to do this, he made contact with the stores and supermarkets and arrived at a business agreement with them. Then because he doesn’t own any motorbikes and delivery vehicles, he had meetings with a few upcoming delivery companies and settled on one of the smaller ones.

They then arrived at another agreement. So now, the client sends a list of what they want from the shops or supermarket and he makes contact with the stores and arranges for delivery of items. He is your ever reliable middle man. He chose this delivery company because they were cheaper than the others and worked twice as hard in their bid to establish their market.

“My X factor is the customer because if they are happy, the business will get free organic marketing and the profit curve is bound to rise. If there is a mixed up order, within two hours the order is corrected and the consumer doesn’t pay extra,” he said.  With this principle in place, little wonder he is flourishing when most businesses are failing. What can you do with your particular skillset? As you ponder that, stay safe, stay home, be innovative and adjust.

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