The Pandemic Couldn’t Stop These Quick-Thinking Canadian Companies
2020 was an incredibly difficult year for small businesses across Canada. Many were forced to shut down permanently, others had to make tough decisions about staff layoffs and reducing expenses.
But, not all businesses suffered equally. Some companies actually thrived during the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s a lot we can learn from the companies that came out ahead during this unprecedented public health crisis. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at three Canadian companies that managed to grow during COVID-19. Each example has an important takeaway that you can apply to your own company’s future success.
When in-person events were cancelled indefinitely, TeamBuilding needed to rethink its operations strategy. The company facilitates and supports corporate team-building activities, but sales plummeted in early March 2020 when the first wave of pandemic shutdowns began.
So, they started offering virtual team-building activities.
Here’s how it works: Kits are mailed to participants in advance. Then, everyone can participate in “camp games” and other challenges via a Zoom call. Each event is 90-minutes and includes fun activities like a scavenger hunt and ghost stories around a tealight candle "campfire."
According to Michael Alexis, the CEO of TeamBuilding, the company has “grown both revenue and profit and are now doing two times or more revenue than we were pre-COVID. As long as a market for virtual team-building exists, we will continue to offer these events."
The company’s offerings aren’t the only thing that changed, either. Everyone now works remotely, which has made it easier to hire talented people outside of major cities.
Takeaway: In-person events won’t be cancelled forever, but COVID-19 has made it clear that businesses that can operate virtually are poised to thrive. It never hurts to develop new ways to offer your services remotely, so consider brainstorming new ways to connect with your target customers.
If you’ve ever walked around Toronto, you might be familiar with some of the issues that come with safely navigating the city’s sidewalks. Dark streets, steep slopes, and other obstacles can make it difficult to get around on foot.
Safe navigation in Toronto was the original problem that MapinHood set out to solve, but the pandemic presented an opportunity to develop a new feature.
Once social distancing became part of our everyday lives, MapinHood created a new feature to help residents and visitors stay safe. The ‘Avoid Crowded Streets’ option in the app generates walking routes using historic pedestrian foot traffic data. With this data, the app can easily help users steer clear of busy roads and major streets.
Takeaway: When a crisis hits, the most successful businesses will dream up new ways to deliver value to customers. This could be a new feature in an app, an updated service offering, or anything else that’s relevant to the moment.
MindBeacon is a leading digital mental health provider in Canada. They’ve been delivering effective virtual therapies since 2016 when the company “transformed from providing traditional weekly therapy to [an] innovative tech start-up and market builder.”
When the pandemic began to impact the mental health of countless Canadians, MindBeacon was well-equipped to provide advice and support. By May 2020, the startup had partnered with the Province of Ontario to offer free online therapy to residents. BlueCross also became a sponsor of their Stronger Minds by BEACON® program, which is free for all Canadians.
COVID-19 provided MindBeacon with plenty of opportunities, and they were more than prepared to rise to the challenge.
Takeaway: Know your company’s strengths and be ready to capitalize on them. You never know when the world will need the exact solution that your company offers.