Like every business owner, everywhere, in the last 2 months, we have spent our time trying to wrap our brains around the current situation. It is tough to have so many aspects and decisions about your business be completely out of your control. And as much as we’d all like to say we are prepared for anything in business, we were not, any of us, prepared for this. So, what does a small business do?
Our first reaction was indeed a reaction. Before the schools were closed in Alberta, I should have been preparing a bit more for it to happen, but I was mostly hoping upon hope that it would not happen. Being a business that serves groups of children gathering in a small space, I knew that as soon as the schools closed, we would be stopped in our tracks. And we were. Our first weeks were reactionary, damage control, customer communication, wildly trying to think of what we could do to stop the bleeding. Friends made suggestions, people tried to offer helpful ideas, but for Gamers Fun Truck, pivoting was a challenge at best, most likely impossible.
No one wants to pay for a truck to come to their house for their family of four to play video games, when they could do that for free in their basement. No one wants to book a party when they have no idea if it will be able to happen at all, or when it will be able to happen. There are no online video game services that we could offer that are not already set up and offered by a much bigger company. What else can a 24 foot trailer full of video game equipment do? We even considered offering services of some sort for free, but after all the refunds, and while waiting for government assistance, we just could not afford to do anything with the truck.
I really wracked my brain. I stayed up at night thinking, I researched and made lists all day. And it was bothering me that I could not come up with something that made sense. But one day, I just decided to stop thinking about it that way. I decided my focus had to pivot. If I couldn’t do anything with my business right now, what could I do? I switched the focus to three things:
- Supporting other local small businesses and not-for-profit events. Blog posts, social media, using their services, recommending them to others.
- Giving something to our customers. Not only small business recommendations, but ideas for celebrating those birthdays during social distancing.
- Planning for the future. Gamers Fun Truck will relaunch once we are cleared to book parties again. We are focusing on making the trailer amazing, re-imagining the party experience, and making Gamers Fun Truck better than ever!
Everything we’ve done since then has those 3 ideas in mind. Not every business can pivot in the same way. (I freaking love that beer companies are making hand sanitizer! That’s genius!) We each face this challenge in our own way. I wish my fellow small business owners the best of luck in this endeavor. And I welcome our customers to stay tuned for more updates on our Gamers Fun Truck Relaunch!