Our "new normal" involves six feet of separation, endless hand sanitizer and face masks—changes must be made for many businesses to survive, including DECA's school-based enterprises. The existing business model has been disrupted and SBEs need to innovate to remain successful.
Pivoting a company's business model is not a new concept. It has been a huge part of business innovation for a long time—sometimes defensively because of a failing model, and other times proactively as new opportunities arise. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused difficulties for many businesses and the old, familiar ways of operating will often no longer work.
This is an opportunity for SBEs to "think outside the box" and realize long-term opportunities to add value to your existing business model. While technology and online stores can help businesses stay afloat, not all transformations depend entirely on technology. Instead of completely shutting down, some SBEs have found ways to make transformations to remain in business whether their classes are in-person, hybrid or completely virtual.
We caught up with several DECA advisors to hear how their SBE's have pivoted this year.
Ginger Verhulst | McFarland DECA, WI
McFarland DECA created an online retail store—spartanheadquarters.org. Over the summer, students were able to count and update all merchandise in their new Square inventory system, then create a Weebly Site that offers online ordering, shipping, delivery and pick up. The store launched in October and had over $1,000 in sales their first week! The three managers get notifications when items are purchased and can enter the school once a week to fill orders and prepare for pick up or delivery. Last spring, the high school finished a referendum to move and remodel the school store. Students were able to plan merchandise, fixtures and the floor plan of the store. Though customers aren't able to come inside, they are still able to see pictures and order products. Staff members have turned to social media to ensure that their community knows they can still order items.
Jennifer Remley | Kearney DECA, MO
Kearney DECA decided not to open their SBE in-person this year due to the number of students who love to come in each day and how closely students work together in the store. They used this situation as an opportunity to do something that they have wanted to do for several years. The SBE students created an online store and use it to increase the store's reach to the community. The online platform pushed the district to find a form of payment to be used on the website and paved the way for other exciting things. Students have been working hard to get the site up and running and are just a few clicks away from going live!
Mary Ellen McCormick | T.C. Williams DECA, VA
With all classes being held virtually, T.C. Williams DECA SBE staff met outside the building to take inventory of all the merchandise from last spring. They have a new online school payment system called My School Bucks and plan to load all inventory on the platform to take orders online. The website is close to going live! On Mondays, the staff will go to the school to fulfill the orders and be available for outdoor pickup. Their students are currently working on creating social media videos to promote their operation.
Teresa Brooks | Southington DECA, CT
With all food sales put on hold, Southington DECA is in the process of moving its spirit apparel online. Their SBE won two different grants through their State Department of Education in the past five years, allowing them to implement the Square point of sale system. Since they have been using Square for in-store purchases, they are able to transition online, creating a free online storefront with Square.
For in-person and hybrid SBE ideas, check out this article.
As DECA’s leadership specialist, Debbie implements a comprehensive student leadership program for both the high school and college divisions. She is responsible for the Emerging Leader Series, executive officer teams and elections, and student recognition programs like the Collegiate DECA Leadership Passport Program and DECA Emerging Leader Honor Award. Debbie has worked for DECA since 2019.