By Kailynn Newediuk
Photo by Danielle MacInnes, Unsplash
During this time of uncertainty many women entrepreneurs are finding ways to adapt now, while also preparing for the future of their business.
Kristina Poturica owns Rituals in Hair and Skin, a full-service salon in Winnipeg, and her strategy has been to maintain a sense of normalcy. She puts together emergency colour touch-up kits, offers tutorials and question and answer videos on social media, and personally delivers product orders to clients.
“I want to feel like I can have control over something,” she says.
Dawn McCooey, a business advisor and entrepreneur-in-residence at Women’s Enterprise Centre British Columbia, says entrepreneurs should be spending their time, energy, and resources on those things they can control, like connecting with customers, prioritizing vendors, or understanding cash flow.
“If you haven’t already, do some hardcore analysis of your revenue streams,” she says. “Revisit your contingency planning. What worked? What do you need to do to stay strong?”
Kristina Botelho, owner of kb&co, a plant-based eatery with locations in Alberta and British Columbia, has also modified her business because of social distancing regulations.
“We’ve stayed open during these difficult times,” says Botelho. “But have switched orders to call-in, pick-up, and delivery only.”
McCooey says while adapting business practices is helpful, it’s important to remember that smaller changes — switching to delivery or take-out only, offering packages, or increasing online offerings — are more manageable for most businesses in this situation.
“A pivot must have some direct relevance to the core business and the skills, competencies, and areas of expertise that the business possesses,” says McCooey.
For Poturica, pivoting means preparing to be even more hygiene conscious by ordering masks and extra gloves, asking people to remove their footwear, and limiting the amount of people allowed into her salon at a time. She tries to talk regularly with her peers to see how they’re feeling about the changes. “A bunch of us salon owners are trying to figure out how do we navigate this as we go forward?”
Amber Hall, a business advisor with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, says preparing responses to partners and clients about changes, looking at how to best save money, and talking with landlords and suppliers, she says, are all proactive ways for entrepreneurs to cope with the crisis.
Botelho made a new partnership by joining a third-party delivery service to keep up with the increase in orders, which she says is something she was wary about before all of this, but now thinks could be beneficial.
“We’re hopeful this will generate more volume and more awareness to our brand for those who have never been into a kb&co,” she says.
Poturica is also trying to best stay relevant and productive by offering to pay for her employees to take online courses to improve or learn a skill while they can’t have regular work. She is also working with a marketing professional to create an email newsletter to reach more clients during social distancing and after.
“Focusing on building back better and focusing on how you’re going to be better prepared next time,” says Hall. “You’re going to see those success stories, and we’re starting to.”