CouncilCorner

Greater Women’s Business Council, Women-Owned Businesses Adapt and Pivot During Coronavirus Pandemic

By MBE Magazine Staff 
Last updated on July 1st, 2020 02:01 pm

 The coronavirus pandemic is causing businesses of all sizes to rethink the way they do business, and The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC) and its corporate and women business members are no exception. 

GWBC, the largest provider of certification and development resources for women business enterprises (WBEs) in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, has amped up its offering of education and business resources with a variety of free, online programs while its members also are transforming the way they do business. 

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we’re looking at everything, including the way leaders are running their businesses,” said GWBC President and CEO Roz Lewis. “While the future is still uncertain, we have some amazing women business enterprises (WBEs) and corporate members who are pivoting their business models to adapt quickly to our current situation.”

These four certified women business enterprises have transformed their operations in the wake of COVID-19.

GMI Group adds COVID-19 deep cleaning and disinfectant services 

GMI Group, Inc., a janitorial cleaning company that provides services throughout the Southeastern region of the U.S, is now dedicating itself to providing COVID-19 emergency response and decontamination services and is a distributor for several antimicrobial agents that have been tested for the actives recommended by the CDC and EPA for cleaning and disinfecting for the coronavirus. All of its products are 100% green-certified organic cleaning solutions and disinfectants. 

GMI’s deep cleaning and disinfectant services, known as COVID-19 Decon, follow stringent safety protocols to protect its clients employees and customers and provide 99.9% germ-free spaces. 

“We are actively using Noroxycdiff and BAC-Botanical Antimicrobial cleaner for preventative measures in consideration of disinfectant protocol for COVID-19,” said GMI CEO Kayla Dang.  “Our biggest seller is the BAC Hand Sanitizer which is FDA approved and made with organic thyme, lemon, wintergreen oil and 75% (Food Grade) IPA Isopropyl Alcohol from plants.”

InTandem helps clients adapt to work from home and return to work safely

InTandem Promotions, a branding and communications company that builds brand connections through promotional products, has shifted its business to help its clients stay connected to their customers and employees in a meaningful way.

InTandem has developed a proprietary software that enables clients to send thank you gifts to employees, clients or prospects and has created virtual event packages to keep partners top of mind. Additionally, the InTandem team has created work-from-home kits with items that include earbuds for calls and blue light blockers as well as drinkware, stretch bands, hand towels, and yoga mats to remind at home workers to drink water and stretch.  

The Kennesaw, Georgia based company also has leveraged its relationships and resources to source over 9,000,000 gowns, over 500,000 masks (cloth and disposable) as well as gallons of sanitizer. 

 “We are ensuring that our clients have the tools necessary to return to work safely,” said InTandem Founder and CEO Sara Webb. “We are developing welcome back kits and helping build brand connections. By establishing a strong supplier network and partnerships, we had the resources at our fingertips to pivot to the needs of our client base.”

Lexair transforms supply chain to serve customers and community 

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Lexair Electronics Sales Corporation, an established supplier of communication technology and devices based in Greensboro, North Carolina, was at the center of the essential business supply chain. As the demand for headsets, webcams and other essential communication technologies skyrocketed, additional products lines were sourced and stock levels were increased to meet the unprecedented demand.

But a new requirement also developed. Customers asked if Lexair could supply masks and hand sanitizer along with their headsets.  “In that moment, we knew we had to pivot to help our customers during this critical time,” said Lexair President and CEO Paula Edwards.

Lexair added essential PPE supplies such as N95-NIOSH approved masks, KN95 masks, disposable masks, washable cloth masks, gowns, face shields, plexiglass barriers, hand sanitizer and COVID rapid antibody test kits. They also created a suite of products and solutions to support “Return to Work” strategies. These include an In Motion – Real Time Thermal Temperature Monitoring Solution, UV-LED air filtration lights for offices, and a customizable e-learning platform to educate employees on COVID-19 safety protocols in the workplace. 

Spartanburg Meat Processing pivots to sourcing masks and sanitizer

Spartanburg Meat Processing Co., based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is changing its sales strategy to service the needs of it customers during this pandemic.

Due to the meat shortage fear in many areas, this meat processing business has been inundated with orders for many months out. With production now operating at its maximum, the sales team is pivoting from its traditional role of seeking new orders and instead is helping source and supply PPE masks and sanitizer for its employees and customers.

“Our sales teams could not continue to seek orders for production time we did not have, so we pivoted their sales strategy to help source and supply PPE masks and sanitizer to folks in need,” said Spartanburg Meat Processing President and CEO JoAnne LaBounty.

GWBC adds online business tools and live programming to support members 

GWBC is offering a number of ways businesses can continue to network and obtain business tools and resources during the pandemic.

  • “Maintaining the Health of Your Business” – These free weekly webinars hosted by GWBC President Roz Lewis offer tips from business leaders, information and resources to help business owners maintain the health of their business.
  • “Open for Business” – A series of podcasts on GWBC Radio feature WBENC-certified women business enterprises who are sharing their inspirational business stories as they pivot during COVID-19.
  • “Mornings With GWBC” – Each Monday, these 30-minute online sessions kick off the week by sharing business resources and tools, informal conversations with business leaders and giveaways. 
  • Business Resources to Combat COVID-19 – GWBC offers a comprehensive list of resources and current news at https://gwbc.org/covid-19-resources/ to help businesses care for its employees, customers, finances and more during the pandemic. 

“To support and serve our members, we’re also continuing to explore the best ways to educate and inform them of opportunities now and down the road,” said Lewis. “In addition to offering a number of ways our members and all businesses can take advantage of current COVID-19 resources, we’re keeping our eyes on the future and using this time to plan for an even more robust WBENC National Conference, rescheduled for 2022 in Atlanta.”