Small Business Success Stories from 2020

Written by: Laura Hendrickson

What we can learn from our small business peers? 2020 was a year many of us are happy to put in the rear-view. Unfortunately, the foreseeable future doesn’t look any brighter. That is until we adjust our filter to see how some businesses have chosen to adapt and thrive. Amid lockdowns, restrictions, and a significantly recessed economy, there is no doubt that a new normal is necessary. Flexibility is the key to sustainability, and we can learn from our peers how to improvise our way toward a promising 2021. 

For centuries, conventional wisdom has outlined our playbook for progress because it is seasoned from proven results. Many businesses choose to model industry best practices to generate similar outcomes, while others leverage these principles to identify the competitive boundaries, they want to surpass by edging the norm. But these aren’t conventional times. 

The game has changed. The rules are still unwritten, the new metrics are unreliable, and the trend is #uncertain. Doing business in 2020 has defied everything we thought we knew, and yet maybe that’s a good thing. Pioneers who are willing to face these challenges by changing their perspective are winning and, in the process, are redefining possible. 

stack of white yellow green and blue textiles

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, retail companies saw the wave coming, and conventional wisdom taught them to brace for impact. But many boutique clothiers saw an opportunity to retool operations for making masks, and they invested those profits into building a robust online presence that now rivals their best brick and mortar projections.

Check out the top online retailers in 2020:

  1. SHOPIFYFor empowering more than a million direct-to-consumer brands—and amplifying their network effect
  2. CAASTLE For transforming fashion labels into rental services
  3. THREDUP For amassing the world’s largest thrift store

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Big chain restaurants closed their doors and focused on cutbacks. Yet, many local eateries recalibrated their procedures to make packaged meals for pickup, created dine-at-your-door delivery campaigns, and repurposed sections of their parking lots for outdoor experiences. Supply and demand were in their favor, which eventually led their competitors to take notice and copy. The difference is that those who pivoted quickly saved jobs and field-tested creative ideas on the fly that could become new lines of revenue in the future. Other restaurants have taken this time for much needed remodeling and updates while building out their delivery service.

Top Chefs Make Major Menu Shifts in Order to Serve Meals Amid Covid-19

Millions of displaced office workers from Corporate America embraced the cloud and meetings thru Zoom. Many had additional challenges with their work/life balance and learning how to educate their children from home. Although there are mixed feelings, those who don’t have to travel are enjoying the extra time with family. This life improvement may shift corporate life for the better.

Some specific small businesses flourished in 2020, and we’d like to highlight some impressive standout industries. Mobile companies such as car repair and cleaning, food trucks, IT/Electronic repairs all seemed to have done very well. Many gyms, personal trainers, health coaches, and the medical industry adapted quite well to their new online options. The biggest boom to note is in online education, enrichment activities, entertainment, and mobile apps.

Public speakers and others who host live events are also noticing abnormally high attendance. A shift in focus has given them new opportunities for international exposure and, with it, a success that exceeded their expectations.

SEE ALL: The 23 Most Profitable Businesses in 2020

Technology moves fast. We should pay attention and find the most innovative people to follow or break conventional rules. As one of my mentors said, “It’s ok – be happy, start crappy… but get it done.” At this point, nothing has gone as expected, and we are all a bit more compassionate and forgiving, even when someone shows up for a meeting in their pajamas!

Whether you are adopting a proven strategy or making a complete shift to something new, we can support your initiative. Tap into our network and get you the help you need.

What did we learn from 2020? Keep improvising and innovating because the next challenge just might create the opportunity of a lifetime.

About the author:

Laura Hendrickson

Marketing strategist, dedicated to obtaining a strong and engaging brand while nurturing prospects along a well-defined customer journey – I specialize in building successful online offers that convert.

Launching something for 2021?
Start today and work with us to develop a system to grow your brand, your prospects and optimize the path so that both the customer and you know your offer is a great fit. Customized online marketing that will fit most budgets from a simple website funnel to a funnel with several automated integrations.

Resource: Laura Hendrickson is a marketing strategist helping small business to systemize their marketing. Learn more at

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