Brin, D. W. (2020) Wedding businesses pivot as they adapt to cancellations. Web.
Zimmerman, E. (2020) Can a start-up mentality save small businesses? Web.
Criteria for Choosing the Articles
The choice of the two articles is based on the description of the same theme: the impact of unforeseeable situations in a business. Moreover, both reports deliver information from primary sources, in this case, the businesses impacted by the issue of COVID-19 and the business model approaches applied. Another criterion used was the dates of the publications of the articles. In this case, both articles provided recent information because they were newly published from high-news outlets, the Forbes and the New York Times. For example, in the report by Brin (2020), the news article was issued in 2020 from a highly reputable news database, Forbes. Moreover, the article by Zimmerman, (2020) was published in 2020 in the New York Times, an organization with similar high quality and trustworthy news channels.
Apart from the sources of articles, it must be acknowledged that both pieces were primarily printed in English; thus loss of information due to translation was limited, hence the criterion for choosing both pieces having been published first in the English language. Lastly, apart from the reports evaluating the impact of COVID-19 or any other disaster on the sustainability of entrepreneurship, both articles established clear frameworks on how to solve business failure and startup models to address future pandemics or goals that ensure increased performances.
Debate Contributed by the Articles
The sustainability and superiority of diverse methods of business resiliency and startup models have often been related to continuous debates. However, as a result of the global pandemic that has affected the international business environment; the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (S.M.E.s) have been greatly affected. As such, it is important to explore the diverse business models for running a long-term sustainable business.
For instance, in the article published in Forbes by Brin (2020), two businesses are described that opted to pivot and perform contingency plans to sustain their businesses after the many wedding cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Brin (2020), despite the sudden constraints on events as a result of COVID-19, neither À Votre Service Events nor EventsWholesale.com’s opted to cut back on their small worker teams but remained resilient. In support of this, García-Gutiérrez and Martínez-Borreguero (2016) posit that a successful business strategy must be industrialized and verified with inadequate resources and under circumstances of great uncertainty associated with both internal and external factors. As such, À Votre Service Events fielded new inquires for novel employment opportunities for the years 2021 and 2022, and even went further to launch new e-commerce to support its floral industry and farms (Brin, 2020). Moreover, EventsWholesale.com’s company pivoted to updating its products and added new products in the preparation for the future (Brin, 2020). Therefore, the article describes the importance of resilience and pivoting as a business model and strategy to use in cases of unforeseeable volatilities.
The New York Times article is about contingency plans and lean startup methods for business sustainability during adverse economic situations. According to Zimmerman (2020), the Practice San Francisco, a psychotherapy-based company opted to move its classes online upon the adverse effects of the COVID-19. However, despite pivoting to this new platform, the company failed after witnessing video fatigue amongst its clients, thus promoting them to perform endless pivoting and troubleshooting, a term coined as “fail-fast” (Zimmerman (2020). In this regard, in Zimmerman’s (2020) article, the company became a lean startup after employing the “fail-fast” approach where the firm stuck to those changes that worked and collected data for more analysis when the plans failed. However, after using to series-based method from the drop-in method, a community-building technique, business started to catch up increasing from eight members to fifteen members.
Moreover, in another business described as the Greater Knead, a gluten-and-allergen-free bagel company was realizing profits before the emergence of COVID-19. According to Aldianto et al. (2021) on business resilience for startups, dynamic abilities and technological skills are an important aspect for entrepreneurs to promote innovation ambidexterity in a bid to improve performance and sustain a firm. Based on the concept by Aldianto et al. (2021), the Greater Knead started selling toilet paper and cleaning supplies, a lean startup that failed when the firm had a revenue reduction of about 60%. Nevertheless, when the firm used web sales and through partnering with the West Coast fulfillment center, it permitted the firm to ship nationwide, thus an increased sales of up to 250% (Zimmerman, 2020). Therefore, the use of business contingency planning and learn startup are significant business models for sustaining entrepreneurship during hard times.
Commonalities and Differences in Approaches in the articles
In business, a pivot is an important aspect for altering or modifying the course of a business especially when it is determined that the current products and services do not meet the demands of the current markets. According to García-Gutiérrez and Martínez-Borreguero (2016), during innovative pivoting, a business can either reconfigure its operations or redesign as a model of sustainability approach. In this case, both articles address the business model quality of pivoting in addressing the circumstances of COVID-19. For instance, in the publication by Zimmerman, 2020), both businesses engage in constant pivoting and troubleshooting. For instance, Practice San Francisco, a psychotherapy firm had to change to using online counseling services instead of physical contact, and further partnered with a local yoga studio for more programming.
Moreover, the Greater Knead also explored pivoting by changing from its gluten-and-allergen-free bagel to selling toilet paper and cleaning supplies. In the article by Brin (2020), the pivot quality of business strategy is explored in length. Case in point, Hawkins’s company had to change the course of its business by updating its products list and adding new products for the future (Brin, 2020). Furthermore, Vil-Young’s firm pivoted to offering goods and services through a new e-commerce web-based sales strategy. Therefore, in both articles, the use of pivoting for the business model is significant.
However, both articles differ in articulating some of its business strategies during the COVID-19. The New York Time news article majors in describing the use of “fail fast,” where lean startups companies continue to experiment with new ideas with an option of continuation if they succeed or proceed to new startups methods if they fail by using the data collected during failure to adjust the new lean startups. According to Welter et al. (2021), collecting secondary information during lean startups improves the probability of realization of performance in new ventures. Therefore, the use of the fail-fast methodology in a lean startup is justified.
However, in the Forbes article by Brin (2020), the business resiliency quality model is vastly addressed. In this news piece, Brin (2020) establishes that through business resilience, many startup businesses are fortified to establish a constant innovation procedure to attain an ambidextrous status, hence, ensuring that the enterprises are future proof for any foreseeable disaster. For example, using resiliency, Vil-young’s wedding firm added a new line of edible, organic floral products to its portfolio (Brin, 2020). In this case, adding a new direction to its product list provided a strategy that increases both its market resiliency and performance.
The Kind of Linkages in the Two Articles
Business linkage is a concept of analyzing the key processes in entrepreneurship models through integrating and incorporating diverse sources of such pieces of information as the customer, employee, and economic constraints to discover any associations with significant variables as customer satisfaction. Technology and knowledge linkage is used by Brin (2020) by describing the use of the new e-commerce site to update a new line of edible, organic floral products. This linkage is also evident in the article by Zimmerman (2020) where Practice San Francisco, was offering its services remotely joined into a partnership with a local yoga studio to provide online programming.
Forward linkage is also prominent in the articles for the development of other firms. The linkage can be well described when one company’s development results in the establishment of other advanced firms. For example, in Zimmerman (2020), the web-selling activity of gluten-free baked goods processed by the Greater Knead is hosted by Squarespace, a website construction and hosting corporation with more than 2.5 million clienteles. In this case, the e-commerce sales on Squarespace’s platform have improved as a result; the latter has increased its operation during the COVID-19 by the increased number of customers to be hosted on its websites. Forward linkage is also indicated in the article by Brin (2020) were due to wedding cancellations, the Hawkins’s company, which focuses on wedding decorations using flowers, planned to sustain the floral industry and farms, by adding a new line of edible, organic floral products. Therefore, by supporting another industry’s growth, the forward linkage is created.
Backward Linkage, a linkage developed when the opinion effects created by a base business on the growth of the base segment. Aldianto et al. (2021) side-stream linkages are known as a backward linkage which involves economic links created to support infrastructure. In Zimmerman (2020), the constant pivoting of Snapbar Company, a firm that design custom selfie stations and photo booths, reinvented a virtual photo booth, transforming the firm into a tech company, thus making it the fastest-developing product.
Personal Reflection about the Key Topic Discussed
Whereas business startups have many setbacks, they possess the flexibility of not factoring in preexisting customers. In this case, they can explore and experiment on any business model to address any possible challenges in the market. For the Forbes article, I chose resilience and pivoting because the businesses in the article never give up even though COVID disrupted operations and the revenue was declining. They mentioned how bad the business was. Making good use of the existing business model, Votre Service Events business owner pivoted to e-commerce business model while EventsWholesale.com used the opportunity to also update its services and to prepare for the boom of business when people are out of quarantine.
In the article by New York Times, the lean startup method was chosen because there was frequent mention of “fail-fast”. As such, being able to “fail-fast” means startups should begin from a very simple product and service model and if they fail, they can use the data collected during the failure period to begin another strategy or learn along the way and improve the business model. Contingency planning was chosen because it was established to be a key quality in the business model; hence it is significant for every startup to prepare for the worst. Consequently, this will show startup investors that the business is indeed well-prepared and when they are faced with major setbacks, for instance, COVID-19, businesses can be versatile enough and pivot.
Aldianto, L. et al. (2021) ‘Toward a business resilience framework for startups’, sustainability, 13(6), pp. 1-20.
Al-Busaidi, K.A. and Olfman, L. (2017) ‘Knowledge sharing through inter-organizational knowledge sharing systems’, VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, 47(1), pp. 110-136.
Arif, I. and Khan, L. (2019) ‘FDI & new business startups: does financial development matter?. South Asian Journal of Management Sciences, 13(1), pp. 1-12.
Brin, D. W. (2020). Wedding businesses pivot as they adapt to cancellations. Web.
Forbes Business Council (2020). 15 key elements for pivoting successfully during tough times. Web.
García-Gutiérrez, I. and Martínez-Borreguero, F. J. (2016) ‘The innovation pivot framework: fostering business model innovation in startups’, Research-Technology Management, 59(5), 48-56.
Hacklin, F., Björkdahl, J. and Wallin, M. W. (2018) ‘Strategies for business model innovation: How firms reel in migrating value’, Long Range Planning, 51(1), 82-110.
Welter, C. et al. (2021) ‘The road to entrepreneurial success: business plans, lean startup, or both?’, New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, ahead-of-print, pp. 1-22.