In the midst of a global pandemic, business as we know it is being reinvented in real-time. More than ever, founders need to remain agile and creative in their thinking to get through these uncertain times. As Yanni Hufnagel, Founder and CEO of Lemon Perfect has found, communication has never been more important. He’s committed to remaining accessible with all his stakeholders as his business adjusts to store closures and shifting priorities, and he’s taking additional steps to make sure that his budding beverage company can weather the storm by embracing technological tools, adopting new efficiencies, and adjusting his business to meet the current reality.
Widespread uncertainty is impacting everyone, and businesses have to acknowledge the crisis at hand. It’s impossible to go about business as usual when stores are closed, people are sheltering in place and avoiding gatherings, and there are daily news updates about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Of course, all of this impacts a business’ bottom lines but it’s also of grave concern to customers. Any communication with the public during these trying times needs to give proper weight to this difficult new reality.
Many businesses have sent marketing emails that let customers know how they are protecting their employees, how the crisis is impacting the availability of their products, their commitment to human health above profits and productivity, and how customers can address any concerns they might have. It’s OK for startups to go off-script right now and to send messages simply designed to comfort or inspire or to share relevant health information about hand-washing. These types of more personal and informative messages make it clear that a company cares and is in step with global priorities. First and foremost, a company wants to indicate how it is being proactive about bringing an end to this crisis, beginning with its own employees and actions.
A relatable, accessible CEO can be a great comfort in a time of crisis. Yanni Hufnagel, CEO of Lemon Perfect, maintains his own Twitter and Instagram accounts where he shares regular updates about his life, stories that inspire him, and his love for sports. Customers get a sense of the human presence behind the company and can connect with him directly.
Health and wellness businesses are positioned not only to address customers’ worries but also to offer reminders about the benefits of their products as people are looking for ways that they can maintain fitness while confined indoors and observing social distancing restrictions. Forced to shelter in place, people are turning to online workouts, yoga videos, and meditation apps, and finding new opportunities for purchasing immune system-boosting foods and drinks online.
Lemon Perfect, founded by health-minded CEO Yanni Hufnagel, is one beverage startup that can offer a healthy way to hydrate while at home, as consumers look for alternatives to high-sugar, high-calorie drinks. The USDA-certified organic, cold-pressed lemon water drink provides 100% of the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily dose of antioxidant-containing and immune system-boosting Vitamin C. Lemon Perfect also has no sugar and just five calories and comes in four refreshing flavors — Just Lemon, Blueberry Acai, Dragon Fruit Mango, and Peach-Raspberry.
Of course, companies also need to adapt in times of crisis, and that’s especially true of any consumer products in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer access even to grocery stores is more limited as people look to drastically cut down on interactions, stores run out of products during buying rushes, and shopping hours are curtailed. Now is an ideal time for businesses to highlight their online availability – whether offering tutorials in the place of in-person services or providing buying options through Amazon or other online platforms. Lemon Perfect is highlighting its availability on Amazon if shoppers can’t get to stores or are limiting in-person buying. The drinks are available in 12-packs in all four flavors for purchase on Amazon where Lemon Perfect drinks have over 50 5-star reviews. Raved one customer: “The fact that you’re getting cold-pressed lemon water for this price is AMAZING, and the fact that this was the best-flavored water I’ve had is an understatement.” Another health-conscious customer wrote: “Lemon water is essential to kickstarting the metabolism in the morning so I’m loving being able to grab it and go and not have to make my own every day.”
Responding to customer questions, engaging in online venues, and updating via a startup’s website and social media platforms are important for maintaining continuity and reminding customers that a business cares, is engaged, and is available to them.
Times of business slowdown can also be opportunities for refocusing and growth if that additional time is shifted into business development. Founders can use this slower period to find new markets and opportunities for expansion, to fine-tune marketing strategy, and to work on more time-consuming projects that have been put on the back burner. Most importantly, it’s the time to build and grow connections, and share insights with others in the field.
Yanni Hufnagel, CEO of Lemon Perfect, is always looking for opportunities to innovate and is continuing that effort through the current crisis. His initial beverage product broke new ground – capitalizing on the healthy beverage trend while carving its own niche with a focus on lemon water. Lemon Perfect was both an answer to customers committed to health and hydration but tired of drinking plain water and a new alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar sports drinks with their artificial flavors and colors. Lemon Perfect was named Best New Product at the 2019 BevNET Awards.
About Lemon Perfect
Lemon Perfect is a naturally refreshing, zero sugar cold-pressed lemon water with antioxidants and electrolytes. Certified organic and full of flavor, Lemon Perfect is widely considered by industry insiders to be one of the most scalable, exciting and innovative emerging beverage concepts in the marketplace.
About Yanni Hufnagel
Yanni Hufnagel is the Founder & CEO of Lemon Perfect, a naturally refreshing, zero sugar cold-pressed lemon water with essential antioxidants and hydrating electrolytes. Certified organic and full of flavor, Lemon Perfect – named “Best New Product” at BevNET’s Best of 2019 Awards – is widely considered by industry insiders to be one of the most scalable, exciting and innovative emerging beverage concepts in the marketplace.
Founded in 2017 and backed by an extraordinary team of investors, the company’s mission is to democratize drinkable wellness by making Lemon Perfect accessible for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Before starting Lemon Perfect, Hufnagel served as an assistant men’s college basketball coach, with stops at Nevada, California, Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Oklahoma. Hufnagel earned the reputation as one of the most dogged recruiters in America, consistently lauded for signing nationally-ranked recruiting classes. In Hufnagel’s 10 years coaching college basketball, his teams reached the NCAA Tournament six times.