Learning from the Small Businesses that Thrived in the Pandemic

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Without a doubt, COVID-19 was tough on the market. One can only reason out that business is survival of the fittest. But the pandemic made the inevitable happen quickly, with businesses caught off-guard. And in its wake, thousands of small businesses called it quits; many more are struggling.

Yelp data showed 6% of small businesses that shut down during the pandemic are now forever closed. Those numbers truly speak volumes about the Earth-shattering changes the virus has caused. And yet, hope springs eternal. As three companies show, some have done great while the pandemic raged on. We can call them the silver lining.

Lucky for us, the business owners of these esteemed small businesses have spoken, sharing their marketing secrets in the process. In random order, they are Heather Caswell of The Wardrobe Boutique, Frank Acosta of 3rd Street Jeweler, Erin Arnold of Avid and Co., and the Avid Reader bookstore. In more ways than one, these small businesses are adept in survival; they’re the cream of the crop. Paying attention to how they made it should bid you well. So you can find your way through amidst all the chaos.

Be Perceived as a Necessity

A necessity is something you can’t live without. If your brand becomes a necessity, people will look for it even if you’re in Alaska. And it’s all about perception.

Think Coca Cola. The cola brand has become an important part of many family meals. It has become a necessity in the consumer’s mind even when you can actually live without it.

Of course, massive marketing is behind Coca Cola’s success.

And that’s what Frank Acosta has to say. He believes customers are buying “the necessities.” So whether it’s for a wedding or an anniversary, people buy jewelry. That, for them, is a necessity. Even if wedding venues are scarce due to the pandemic and weddings pushed down a year, people still come to his jewelry store.

Indeed this is a marketing secret that has helped many businesses. A look at two small businesses that are thriving really well despite the virus should be telling.

Their secret is simple. They’re perceived as relevant. They’ve become a necessity. Acosta, himself, makes sure every customer is well attended to. So people trust his brand. The good thing is you can start with social media to help boost brand awareness.


Being innovative in times like this can’t be overemphasized. You have to do it. Times have changed, and so has a strategy. Being innovative is how to get your customers.

Erin Arnold emphasized that they needed to find ways to meet up the challenges ahead. He and his staff had to work doubly hard to earn a quarter of what they’ve been earning before.

And they adjusted their business to the needs of the times. They created a web store, for instance, and from there created online bundles targeted for stay-at-home families.

This could also involve financing. Arnold cited he had to work with the landlord to give him some leeway as revenue was down. He has also been a recipient of government grants, which helped a lot. Many of the tenants in his block closed shop, unable to pay the landlord.

For your part, you may want to explore the services of top-notch mortgage loan companies. With their help, you would get the financing to build your new home, and from there, work your business from a home office. That way, you won’t need to pay a landlord exorbitant rental fees. You will be paying for a place you’d eventually own in the long run.

What’s important is you explore options so you can pivot best. And survive the torments of the virus with class.

Be a Community Builder

Another secret from the three small business leaders is the importance of being a community builder. Companies and businesses that have always been community-oriented are more likely to thrive in this period.

This is what Heather Caswell emphasized. She emphasized that investing in the community is key. And she made sure that she is active in building her community, working with community leaders while tending to her boutique.

She attributes her success to that. As she has been active in helping her community at Davis grow.

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Be Active in Business Associations

Small businesses that have strong associations thrive well during hard times. It’s because it’s easier to find help if you’ve been well-connected.

Years before the pandemic, Heather Caswell has been active with DDBA or Davis Downtown Business Association. And as DDBA has been actively promoting its pro bono marketing program, it has helped Caswell tremendously. In short, it paid back big time.

The same holds true for Erin Arnold. As he was active in the BNIC Foundation or Book Industry Charitable Foundation, he was given a grant as an independent bookstore. At a time when funding is hard to find, he found all that extremely helpful.

In a sense, what comes around, goes around. If you’ve been helpful before the pandemic happened, people around you are more likely to help you in these trying times. Therefore, it’s not hard to realize your best marketing tool is your very own self.

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