Approximately 23 percent of small business owners are negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic according to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business.
These impacts include supply chain issues, lower sales, and employees who are unable to work due to becoming ill. This survey also reveals that 44 percent of small business owners have a heightened level of concern about how COVID-19 will ultimately affect the strength—if not the survival—of their companies.
That’s why we reached out to Christopher Breward, owner of Bushido Karate Academy in Pinellas Park, Florida. We wanted to know what he was doing at his small business to better survive this pandemic. This is what he told us.
They Began Offering Online Classes
“We have chosen to temporarily close our doors for the safety of our staff, its members, and all of our Bushido family,” says Breward. “We have instead been offering classes via Zoom.”
Offering online classes enables Bushido to continue to teach students without risking anyone’s health. Plus, it gives students something to do now that they’re stuck at home and restricted from going many of the places they normally go.
How are online classes working for Bushido? They are “rocking” says Breward. Students of all ages “are learning the art of Karate virtually, with added benefits such as PE classes, reading time, and more,” he says.
They’re Using Their Downtime Wisely
While it may seem like small businesses are being forced to sit on their hands until the coronavirus passes, that is not the approach that Breward is taking at Bushido. Instead, they are using this downtime in a way that helps them improve their business once it is given the green light to reopen by governor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For instance, in addition to sanitizing the facility, they are also doing some remodeling. “This will make it an environment that everyone will feel comfortable coming back to,” says Breward.
They Are Keeping Their Small Business Services Personal
Admittedly, it’s tough to offer personal service when you can’t be face-to-face with your students. But that doesn’t stop Breward and his staff. It has just forced them to be a bit more creative with their services, such as when they are handing out awards.
“Whether it be a uniform, patch, belt, certificate, etc., we have been driving packages to mailboxes,” says Breward. When this isn’t possible or efficient, Bushido sets a ‘pick-up’ time for students and the community so they can receive their awards somewhat in person, even if it is from a distance. “We practice the social distancing policies diligently,” Breward reinforces.
“Though the pandemic is giving small businesses like ours great hardship, we choose to stay positive, focuses, and driven to provide normalcy to our Bushido family in getting through this together,” Breward says, adding that “the rising tide lifts all boats.” That is a great attitude indeed!