Home » Blog » How small businesses are innovating in the face of COVID-19

How small businesses are innovating in the face of COVID-19

How small businesses are innovating in the face of COVID-19 | Prospa
Few things breed innovation like crises, and the COVID-19 disruption is proving no exception. Here’s how some Aussie small businesses are quickly transforming.

Whether you’re watching the coronavirus headlines, or simply dwindling foot traffic or sales enquiries for your business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the current crisis.

But many Australian businesses are pivoting their way out of business disruption and exploring new opportunities.

Here are some ways Aussie small businesses are keeping the wheels turning on their business:

Gym class goes virtual

Cycology Club in Surry Hills in Sydney is one of many gyms offering virtual classes amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Founder David Finnimore says more than 300 people joined in for Cycology Club’s first Instagram Live workout and over the subsequent 24 hours a further 400 viewed the workout via the gym’s Instagram Stories.

“We had all sorts of people look at it – from professional sports players right through to four and five-year-old kids in front of the TV doing the workout,” he says.

Finnimore says the live workouts have not only enabled the business to continue providing a service to clients during the current coronavirus situation, but it’s also a marketing opportunity.

“We attached a competition to the Instagram Live videos so if someone films themselves doing the workout, tags the club and shares it on Instagram, they can win 10 classes. They’re also promoting the club in a time when we’re not even open,” he says.

Going forward, Finnimore says they will also start delivering bikes to their clients’ homes so they can run virtual classes using their own official equipment.

Restaurant supplier turns home food delivery service

Cheeky Pea (pictured above) is a two-year-old business that provides handmade falafel products directly to some of Sydney’s fine dining restaurants, cafes, delis and corporate catering businesses.

But once COVID-19 began affecting business in Australia, Founder Adi Walter started to notice a major decrease in orders from her regular clients.

So, Walter thought, if people can’t leave their homes and eat out, why not deliver ready-to-fry falafel balls directly to them instead?

“We’ve decided to shift from a B2B business to a B2C business over the upcoming period in order for our business to survive,” she says.

Walter has put the word out across different Facebook groups and contacted everyone she knows to help spread the message that not only are they open for business – they’ll come to you.

“It’s a product you can freeze and stock up on as it lasts for three months, it’s very nutritious and made from high-quality ingredients, and it’s vegan,” she says.

Social distancing menu, pop-up supermarket

The hospitality industry has been hit hard, with many restaurants and cafes turning to offering more expansive take-away or delivery menus.

For instance, in Sydney, bar No. 92 has developed a ‘social distancing menu’ that includes cocktail kits and charcuterie plates for local pick-up or delivery.

“We don’t think libatious adventures should cease during these difficult times,” the Glebe bar’s website states.

“Let’s keep our spirits up (excuse the pun) and treat ourselves whenever we can.”

In Brunswick, Melbourne, Italian restaurant 400 Gradi has quickly opened a nearby pop-up supermarket selling its fresh pasta, fresh pasta sauce and bulk groceries, which you can either pick-up or have delivered.

“All the products that we use in our restaurant on a daily basis… we’ve packaged them and we want you to enjoy them at home,” a video on 400 Gradi’s Facebook page says.

Seafood restaurant Moxhe in Bronte, Sydney, has followed a similar path, launching a new take-home menu and opening the ‘Moxhe market’, selling fresh produce, pastries and sandwiches.

Other innovative COVID-19 business ideas

Accommodation: Short-term accommodation management company Beyond a Room has had many cancellations recently. To make up for the fully-refunded cancellations, they’ve offered guests who have recently entered the country the chance to extend their stay so they can properly self-isolate for the full 14 days.

The company is offering homes with unlimited wi-fi, Netflix, food deliveries and in some cases gaming consoles.

Fashion: In the Sydney suburb of Balmain, women’s fashion boutique, Strelitzia Boutique, is one of many bricks-and-mortar retailers reducing trading hours, but in a bid to offset the downturn Strelitzia has announced it is offering phone sales and free local delivery.

Retail: The Sun Bookshop in Yarraville, Melbourne, has turned to delivering books by bike in the local area to customers who are self-isolating or choosing not to venture out. If customers order online before 2pm, it’s delivered the same day: “We knock on the door, put it on their doorstep and walk away,” says the bookshop’s owner Deb Force.

Primary CTA illustration
At Prospa, we continue to support Australian small businesses. As a participating lender in the Government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, we’re here to help with a range of options. Find out more.
Apply now
Primary CTA icon
At Prospa, we continue to support Australian small businesses. As a participating lender in the Government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, we’re here to help with a range of options. Find out more.

The information in this post is provided for general information only and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from financial, legal and taxation advisors. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information as at the date of publication, Prospa, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information for any reason, including due to the passage of time, or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

Keep reading

Lessons small business owners are taking from the pandemic

04 August 2020 | 6 min read

COVID-19 has forced many small businesses into crisis management mode, but important lessons are coming out of it.

View more

5 Aussies share how they’ve made their small businesses COVID-safe

27 July 2020 | 5 min read

Five Aussie small business owners share their best COVID-safe business planning tips.

View more

How hospitality is preparing for life after lockdown

18 June 2020 | 4 min read

What does the future look like for Australia’s hospitality industry? Industry leaders are moving fast to adapt to new attitudes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

View more

Subscribe to the Prospa Blog

Be inspired! Sign up to Prospa’s newsletter to receive tips, tools and small business success stories straight to your inbox.