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How to Adjust Your Small Business Model during Coronavirus

by Kim Magee - April 22, 2020

A recent poll conducted by the United States Chamber of Commerce and MetLife found that more than half of small businesses have closed at least temporarily or will close in the next two weeks. One in four are two months or less away from permanently closing. To help combat some of those closures, small businesses are resorting to adjusted business models in order to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Continue reading below for some tips on adjusting your business model as well as a creative list of ways specific types of businesses can shift to selling differently.

Current Situation

Bars, restaurants, and gyms were mandated by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to cease in-house operations on March 19, 2020. Further closures came on March 25 when all barber shops, salons, tattoo and massage parlors were mandated to cease all operations. Even though your doors may physically be closed, now is the time to position yourself as being present.

Resources are available to small businesses, but seem to be changing daily. Think of creative ways that your business can address the current “pain points."


It’s impossible to know what the future holds post Coronavirus era. However, it’s not impossible to know how your customers are feeling. If you’re unsure, ASK THEM! 

Eventually, restrictions on businesses will slowly be lifted, but many aspects of the virus will linger. Even when businesses are allowed to open, many Arkansans may still be uncertain of their safety. When developing your adjusted business model, keep in mind what you think that you can sustain going forward in your business.  Customers are going to remember those businesses that were helpful during the pandemic.

Ask yourself:

  1. How can we contribute to our community?
  2. What is something unique about our business?
  3. How can my product or service be modified to meet current needs?


Learn from others! You are not alone. Businesses are in this together. Watch the news, keep your eye on social media posts, speak with other businesses owners, and discuss with friends & family. There are networks of similar type business owners. Consider finding one of those networks and join.

Take Action

Assess your core values, mission statement, and purpose. How can your business continue providing something that aligns? These are challenging times. Consider what you want to be remembered for during these times. While your short-term goal is to survive, your long-term goal should be to thrive. Taking action now puts you in position to do so.

When deciding on the action to take, use the RID-Method, developed by Rebecca Vogels, CEO of ALL of the Above Brand Agency, to guide you in your decision.  RID stands for Relevant, Impactful, Doable, and all ideas should be all three:

Relevant:  Choose an area that is relevant to your company and your customers.

Impactful:  Choose to do something that will have an impact. That means it will solve a real and pressing problem quickly and effectively.

Doable:  Finally, think about what is doable for your business. What can you deliver in a short time-frame?  What resources can you realistically allocate to this project?

Many business owners have reported feeling overwhelmed. It will take time and effort, but successful adjusted business models can happen. Being present and adjusting your business model is not only important to meet immediate needs, but for how business will most likely be conducted in the future. Remember to try to create value for your community, stay present, and communicate. Try to adapt quickly and be proactive.

Examples of Adjusted Business Models

The following table is a list of ways that Arkansas businesses have adjusted their business models. 

We hope that you can find inspiration in these while trying to adjust your own business model. Remember that when you are first rolling out a modification, it does not have to be perfect and refined. 

You can work out the kinks as you go.



Automotive company

Making medical devices and personal protective equipment


Making paper doll kits


Drink mixes for you to add your own alcohol at home


Offering online classes, pantry staples, “make-your-own” kits, sample box deliveries, bread


Online book readings to assist with homeschooling, curbside pick-up, & online

Beauty Salon

Increasing product offerings and hair color kits for curbside pick-up

Subscriptions for package deals


Converting to hand sanitizer and disinfecting alcohol

One brewery is doing a drive-in theater (offering beer & popcorn)

Perfume Company

Converting to hand sanitizer and disinfecting alcohol


Parking lot services and live streaming of services

Small online study groups

Dance Studio

Online dance classes

Errand Runner

Turned virtual assistant

Event Center

Serving as food pantry

Farm Stand

Expanding offerings to become one-stop market

Food Truck

Crepe food truck offering crepe kits

Locating food truck in apartment complex lots

Handmade Soap Make

Roadside soap stand in exchange for tips

Home Organizer

With so many people using extra free time to organize, they are offering virtual organizing services


Serving as quarantine quarters

Nail Salon

Making face masks & other handmade fabric items

Do-it-yourself manicure kits, how-to videos

Paint Your Own Pottery Shop

Ceramic Easter eggs and to-go painting kits

Personal Trainer

Online Training


Offering distance photo shoots so that customers can remember this time in history

Pick Your Own Farm

Drive thru Easter celebration & scavenger hunt, Pop Up Craft Class (from your car)

Real Estate Agents

Video tour home showings

Residential House Cleaning

Turned to sterilization & disinfection services for businesses still in use


Along with curbside pick-up and delivery, they are offering cooking great meals at home videos.

Breaking up large quantity of food products into smaller saleable quantities

Tea Cafe

Outdoor tea stand


Live streaming movies and offering “movie popcorn” for curbside pick-up


Wine set bundles for virtual tastings and wine pairings, wine delivery

3D Printers

Parts for medical equipment

Download a copy of this list as as PDF

With parents being home with their children, any kind of “kits” have proven to be popular as it gives them something safe to do and fill some time. 

The ways in which these businesses included on the list adjusted their business models, can be implemented for many different businesses. As you can see from the list, several of them include online options. If you do not already have an online presence, now is the time to incorporate online options.

Several business models can offer:

  • Video tours
  • Video tutorials
  • Online shopping
  • Curbside pick-up
  • Service versus product; product versus service

This is not an all-inclusive list. If you have witnessed creative ways that businesses are adjusting their business models, please share. 

Below is an interview with one Little Rock business owner who has adjusted her bakery and supply business to operate during the 2020 pandemic.


We hope that you gain some inspiration from these examples.