19 Business Survival Tips for COVID-19

I was listening to a podcast the other day and someone said “Innovation is at its best under limitations… The best ideas of tomorrow are going to come from the crisis of today.” It’s true. Small businesses are getting creative and innovative in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. This article is all about business survival tips for COVID-19.

We have observed and helped numerous clients and local businesses pivot their strategy during COVID-19. This article is not about grocery stores and delivery services or businesses closing. We’re highlighting restaurants, consultants, fitness places, musicians, and brick and mortar shops making adjustments to their business to survive. These are small changes you can make during the crisis to help your business thrive.

Swing’s Coffee

Subscription Service, Gift Cards, Virtual Tip Jar

One of our clients, Swing’s Coffee, a premium coffee roaster in Northern VA & DC has had to temporarily close their retail spaces because of COVID-19. During this time, their coffee subscription shipping service has soared in popularity. They are also offering gift cards that can be purchased online for use later at one of their coffee shops. They’ve even setup a virtual tip jar on GoFundMe that’s raised over $2,500 for their baristas.

Community Preschool

Online Registration

Community Preschool in Northwest Indiana is creating a way to take fall registration and application fees online using Stripe since they won’t be able to have open houses (and hand out applications and collect fees in person) for a while. We are about to launch new website, stay tuned!

Family Allergy Center

Drive Thru Appointments

Family Allergy Center in Centreville, VA has switched to drive thru allergy shots to be able to continue serving people while adhering to social distancing requirements. The process is simple:

  1. Book an appointment
  2. Drive up at your appointment time and get checked in while you wait in your car
  3. When your allergy shot is prepared, you walk just inside the main doors (they are propped open so you don’t have to touch anything), and they give you your shot.
  4. You pay electronically (no contact) and then you walk out and drive away.

No waiting in a waiting room with others. No touching anything. It’s brilliant.

Los Mariachis

Margaritas With Food Purchase

Some restaurants have gotten creative with their offerings and are including drink packages. Los Mariachis in Wallingford, CT is known for it’s authentic Mexican dishes and is now offering famous margaritas to go with your food order. Check out all of their specials.

Taco Bamba - Prepare Your Oven - Business Survival Tips

Taco Bamba

Cook at Home Meal Kits, Special Offers

Taco Bamba in Fairfax, VA is offering “Prepare Your Oven” meal kits (heat and eat build-a-taco kits), family platters, and carry out beer, wine and cocktails in addition to their normal offerings.

Gateway City Arts Bistro

Curb-side Pick-up and Contact-less Pick-up

Gateway City Arts Bistro in Holyoke, MA is offering curb-side pick-up and contact-less pick-up. They have even have special instructions on how to order and what to do.

Sweet Dee’s Cupcakery and Custom Cakes

Relevant & Seasonal Baked Items

Some bakeries and sweet shops have become really creative with their offerings. Sweet Dee’s Cupcakery and Custom Cakes in Winter Garden, FL has started offering poop emoji cupcakes and toilet paper cakes and they’ve been a huge hit. For Easter they also offered Easter cookie or cupcake kits to take home and decorate on your own.

Business Survival Tip - Make Items that Are Relevant to the COVID-19 Crisis

Blue Plate Catering

Feed the Frontline Initiative

One of best things that I’ve seen some restaurants doing is a “Feed the Frontlines” initiative. On March 29, Blue Plate Catering in Madison, WI started offering the ability for people to buy food at cost  to be sent to those on the front lines of the virus response: doctors, nurses and other staff at nearby hospital, police, firefighters and EMS squads. In the first week, they passed 2,000 meals delivered to the front lines. Find people you can help, that’s a business survival tip.

Penguin Pizza

Feed the Frontline Initiative

Penguin Pizza in Boston, MA started doing something similar and even registered www.feedingthefrontline.com to help connect communities to local restaurants and food establishments.


Online Store & Ebay Store

Tools4Trade sells their products online and also has an eBay shop where they sell products.

1818 Farms

Sell on Industry Specific Sites/Sections

1818 Farms in Mooresville, AL discovered Amazon’s handmade section and started selling their products there with great success. Finding industry specific sites or sections can make a huge difference in your sales. You could also sell on sites like Amazon.com, Etsy.com, Bonanza.com or another online site.

Applewood Winery

Virtual Wine Tasting with Live Music

Applewood Winery is hiring musicians to play on stage at their winery. During this time, the musician and owners go back and forth between music and wine tasting. It’s like a virtual wine tasting. See a livestream of one of their recent performances where Nicole Deloi of Owls & Lions played.

Blue Arrow Farm

Live Music Performances Online

Blue Arrow Farm has moved their Blues Jam Wednesdays to fully online using Facebook Live from the artists home. Since it’s a recurring event, they are staying engaged with their audience. They pay a musician to perform and give them exposure and as a result, the musician talks about the farm quite a bit during the gig. Chris Raabe of the Chris Raabe Band recently performed.

Goat 2 Meeting - Business Survival Tip for COVID-19

Sweet Farm

Live Animals in Zoom Meetings

Sweet Farm is a nonprofit animal sanctuary in California that is now offering Goat 2 Meeting service where you can have a live animal make an appearance in your Zoom meetings. The cost ranges from $65-750. They’ve already had over 300 meeting appearance at their $100 price point. That is $30,000 in revenue to help support the animals. Use what you have, that’s a business survival tip.

Grass Roots Fitness

Online Fitness Classes

Barbershops, salons, locksmiths, roofers, beauticians may find it difficult to sell products online. Personal trainers have built their brands to go online. Grass Roots Fitness instructor Joann Meginely started offering classes via Zoom. They are following the trend we’ve been seeing online. If you use Google Trends and type “online fitness” you will see the recent spike in searches.

Companion Animal Behavior

Pet Telebehavior Consulting

Pet Behavior consultant Yody Blass has transformed their in-home pet consulting to telebehavior consulting. Using AcuityScheduling to book appointments, customers can now schedule and pay for their appointment online. There are a lot of online booking appointment tools you can use: Calendly, BookLikeaBoss, Schedule Once and others.

Plumb Doctor Live

Online Plumbing

Plumb Doctor Live in the UK offers live video call with experienced plumbers who will help you fix basic plumbing problems yourself, provide complete and impartial cost for any additional repairs needed and send you a report. A business survival tip is to offer your service over video.

Sweet Green

Free Food Delivery to Lockers in Hospitals

Sweet Green is providing free food delivery to hospitals through their Outpost service. They had over 10,000 hospitals apply for the program, where they place a SweetGreen Outpost locker in hospitals. Healthcare workers can order food through the app and their food gets delivered for free to the Outpost locker by noon. Then employees can come by and pick up the food with their name on it at their convenience.

La Veracruzana Mexican Restaurant

Fresh Vegetable/Fruit Pick-up or Delivery

La Veracruzana in Massachusetts is offering fresh vegetable and fruit boxes for delivery or pick-up. Each week they post a link on Facebook to an online form that contains their latest fresh items and you can reserve yours so it’s ready for pick-up on the day.

Click on the photo above to see a screenshot of the full form.


Batavia Church

Livestream Church Services

Recently I’ve done a lot of consulting with businesses and churches. We helped  Batavia First Presbyterian Church in NY improve their livestream. Churches are having their church services online. See 9 Tips for Church Connection during COVID-19 for lots of ideas for churches.

The Lamb Center

Altered Procedures, Online Giving Options

The Lamb Center, a homeless shelter in Fairfax, VA has altered their procedures to be able to continue to serve the homeless population. By allowing no more than five guests at a time to come in for 30 minutes to grab a meal and a snack, take a shower and drop off or pick up laundry. Their robust online giving platform allows them to continue receiving donations online via credit card or ACH payments, one time or recurring.

Non-profits are working to increase online giving options, see 9 Things You Can Do to Increase Online Giving.

A special thanks to Carey Baker, Joli Taryla, Robert Simmons, my Friday mastermind group, local businesses and our clients who provided inspiration for this article.

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