Elyse Dickerson has powered through sudden business changes before. She was 13 years into a successful pharmaceutical career when she suddenly lost her job. She took matters into her own hands a launched a biotech firm called Eosera, going on to secure funding to start her first product—an earwax cleaning solution. Eosera products are now sold by Amazon, Target, CVS, and other national retailers.
How are you coping amid the COVID-19 crisis?
At Eosera, we are adapting day-to-day. As an essential business, we are still operating, and everyone is keeping a positive attitude and supporting each other during this unprecedented time. We are heeding counsel from the CDC and staying agile as a company.
Did your business continuity plan work, or were there surprises?
Each day seems to bring a new surprise, but our positive company culture has allowed us to pivot easily. Our global supply chains have slowed down, and components that are typically easy to get are in short supply or taking longer to deliver. We work with a lot of local small businesses for packaging, labeling, and shipping materials. As our local suppliers have been forced to close or their production teams thin out, we have to make adjustments.
What are the short-term ramifications for your specific industry?
All the short-term ramifications are still unknown, but the most obvious result right now is a slowing of the supply chain. Components are taking longer to arrive, which in turn slows production. We also have to change up our production routine to enable everyone to follow the CDC guidelines. All employees are wearing gloves, masks, gowns, and standing six feet away from each other. All employees are taking breaks and lunch one-by-one, rather than as a group. We are also cleaning the entire facility multiple times a day to ensure a clean environment.
Have you found silver linings in these difficult times?
Absolutely. I am heartened to see how my team has come together to support each other. We have members working from home full time, others working from home 2-3 days a week, and then others coming to the office every day. Our goal is to make all employees feel safe and comfortable while still allowing our business to continue.
How are you maintaining your company culture?
Our company culture is more important now than ever. We are trying to be as transparent as possible and taking input from the team as we go. This type of situation is new to everyone, so we are all learning on the fly. Luckily, this learn-as-we-go attitude was already part of our company culture, so this crisis is just reinforcing the positive culture and helping us adapt very quickly.
What have you learned that may change your policies or strategies for the future?
We will be assessing our supply chain and requiring back–up suppliers for all components that come from overseas in the future. This plan was almost impossible up to this point because of our size, but as we grow, we have more leverage and more options.
What will things look like for your company and industry in another six months?
No one knows, but I expect people will still need the healthcare products we manufacture, so our goal is to continue supplying the market and developing new products.
Do you have advice for other local companies?
Ask for help. We are continuing to pay all our local suppliers on-time as long as we can. If you are in a situation that you cannot make a payment or need to change your terms, the best thing to do is make a call and be honest about your situation. Local companies want to support other local companies. We all rise and fall together. So, if you feel alone and trapped at a dead-end road, start calling people to ask for help. You never know when another business owner might have a creative solution to your problem.