When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Meatballs

My oldest and youngest kids are both chefs. Both live and work in Colorado, in Denver specifically. With the shut down of restaurants, one was furloughed from the restaurant he worked at, and the other, who taught at a culinary school, has been reduced to part-time teaching classes online. So what did these two do when handed a bowlful of lemons? They made meatballs. Seriously.


They formed a company, My Brothers Meatballs, to do pop-up takeaway in Denver. And so far, they have been quite successful selling different kinds of Colorado-local inspired meatball bowls (beef and bison and local side ingredients of a variety of sorts) as well as the ever popular Bag of Balls. (Ok, sometimes kids never grow out of their teen years.)


This is just one small example of many of innovations borne out of necessity in this rarified time we are trying to live through. Another I have seen is a portrait photographer who has figured out how to do portraits remotely. (Go here to read his story.) Distillers are switching from craft bourbons to hand sanitizer. Restaurants are offering curb-side pickup. Some stores are offering browsing via Facetime. Tourist sites have virtual tours up online.


One of the things that are hard to find on store shelves these day, in addition to toilet paper, is bread. Kneaders, who makes their own bread for sandwiches and to sell during normal times, has started having specials on bread. Just the other day, we bought their wonderful sourdough for $2 a loaf. Today they had a sell on wheat or white sandwich bread loaves for $1 each. That’s smart flexibility in serving a gap for local customers.


It’s hard right now to be a small company. It’s hard to be a medium-sized or large company, for that matter. Hard is when you either give up and go home, or change your approach to adapt to the new hard.  


Matt Seltzer, of S2 Research, talked about this on the Research Business Daily Report (RBDR), about how this crisis is simply escalating on trends for the last decade--pushing to the convenience of online access and ordering for services and products to be delivered in ways outside the traditional brick-and-mortar monoliths.It’s worth a watch.


While what he has to say, about figuring how to deliver value differently to our customers, was intended for the research community, it has broad application for all of us in business.


One thing I know for certainty is that your customers are the ones that best know what value you deliver. So talk to them if you aren’t exactly sure. Knowing the value you deliver can help you creatively work through how best to deliver it in these crazy times.


And in the meantime, stay safe and healthy.  And get yourself some meatballs!*


No, seriously, if you live in the Denver metro area, order up some meatballs. Locations and dates by following them on their Instagram account at:https://www.instagram.com/my.brothers.meatballs/


Or, support their efforts by getting yourself a My Brothers Meatballs button on Zazzle:  https://www.zazzle.com/my_brothers_meatballs_logo_button-145454885708966874  For every button ordered, I will match the price of the button and donate that to them.