34 minutes | Apr 29th 2020

Adaptive Tenacity and Small Business Resiliency amid Coronavirus

Connie Matisse had all kinds of plans for her business. Then coronavirus hit.

Like many entrepreneurs grappling with how to move forward during a global pandemic, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of East Fork faced a simple yet scary question: What’s next?

In this episode of Longitudes Radio, Matisse takes us behind the scenes of her Asheville, North Carolina-based pottery company, explaining exactly how the company switched gears to get ahead of the coronavirus crisis. It all began with one of the company’s core values, something East Fork founders refer to as “adaptive tenacity.”

“Our business has always been tenacious and very adaptive,” Matisse says, adding that pivoting quickly came naturally to her workforce. “Nobody has this preconceived notion of how business is supposed to be done.”

Such a mindset served the company well following the coronavirus outbreak, when in March, East Fork achieved its highest-grossing month since launching. 

Matisse attributes that success to “running a business with crisis in mind since the beginning,” as well as nurturing and fostering a loyal and passionate customer base — a commitment on full display with the company’s more than 120,000 Instagram followers (she also shares some social marketing tips for small business owners looking to bolster their digital strategy).

What else can entrepreneurs learn from the East Fork experience during these disruptive times?

First, they need to be open and transparent with their own people. And now, more than ever, company values matter, as does customer feedback, which Matisse is using to reshape the East Fork of the future.

Matisse also shares some personal stories about trying to avoid burnout when the line between work life and personal life is blurrier than ever, dispels some myths about authenticity and finally, in the spirit of adaptive tenacity, reevaluates that newly complicated question: What’s next?