Luke Bazely, the co-founder of Driverseat, joins Bourke & Farwell on 570 NEWS to explicate the major shift that businesses face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an obvious toll that the pandemic has put on small businesses, and they have had to adapt to either change their focus entirely or double down on their existing product or service using a different delivery model.
Driverseat runs a franchise system and currently has over 30 franchises in Canada and the US. The pandemic has had a prolific impact on every aspect of the company. Bazely highlights that before the pandemic, each franchise was growing at a rapid rate and the company was expanding through new territories being awarded.
“What does it look like for the future of the company?”
The Driverseat management team acknowledged and accepted how the pandemic was going to transform the business and proceeded to build a 4 tiered strategy to respond to it. Bazely addresses how the team has implemented the strategy to aid in discovering new revenue opportunities. For instance, shifting the focus to physical and mental health & wellness, adopting new services, building new internal training programs and experiences, and hosting networking events through webinars have all helped to maintain the momentum the company had prior to the pandemic.
“You work FOR yourself but not BY yourself”
In a franchise system, the greatest advantage is that you have the autonomy to work for yourself and operate your own business, but you are not by yourself. The collective efforts of the franchisor and all franchisees form a united group of business owners who are working from the same recipe and learning from each other’s experiences. That advantage has been most clear throughout the pandemic, as each franchisee benefits from the others in technical support, strategic support, and emotional support.
The Strategy really is to… DO SOMETHING!
Bazely gives honourable recognition to Rahul Kumar, a Driverseat franchisee in Calgary, who took a selfless approach to help the community in the face of adversity. Kumar was aware that there was a lack of hospitality revenue and pivoted his regular business operations by delivering groceries to the vulnerable population at no cost, to align with Driverseat’s values of supporting the community. This pivot sparked an opportunity for the entire brand which resulted in the “Shop and Drop” pay-what-you-can program to help the community by shopping for and delivering groceries.
The Importance of Agility
The pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to come up with long-term strategies and from personal experience/encounters, Bazely emphasizes that Driverseat is prepared for the next normal. As a customer service-oriented company, it’s critical to adjust for consumer needs and this requires having the ability to be agile through strategic pivots, proposing new strategies, doing the research, and more! To ignite innovation, having an agile mindset comes to the aid of sustaining success in dynamic environments.
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