Challenge: An organization devoted to promoting the growth and development of small and diverse companies wanted to support their suppliers in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic. Organization members in the health care and life sciences industries needed a rich understanding of small business leaders’ experiences, fears and needs so they could offer targeted and relevant assistance in an unprecedented global crisis.
Approach: We conducted a short but intense 3-day online community with leaders of small and diverse businesses nationwide that explored both their immediate and longer term needs; funding, support and opportunities to pivot their businesses; and networking resources. Small business leaders described challenges they were facing and drastic changes they had made to keep their businesses afloat, but also optimism and hope for the future, with many highlighting “silver linings” of the pandemic The exercises and testimonials given by the online community were illuminating for our client and cathartic and empowering for the participants.
Result: The research opened up new vistas for how the organization related to their suppliers. By exploring business owners’ hearts and minds in uncertain times, our client was able to position themselves to provide the support and resources that their suppliers needed.