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David FullerPuppies have been at a premium since the start of COVID-19. This has driven the prices for dogs way up, yet there’s a whole new breed of dog owners and dog parks are filled with young pups.

COVID-19 has changed the business landscape as well. We’ve had to adapt our traditional business models or fail. New businesses are popping up to fill demand for home delivery and online shopping. And a rash of other businesses have thrived in place of those that are dying.

Young pups and business startups tend to look at things differently than old dogs and established businesses. New pups are excited to be alive, they jump and play and bite things they shouldn’t, and generally cause trouble.

Young businesses usually don’t know the lay of the land. Their owners try new things, dig up new business and cause a disruption to business models. Sometimes they force old dogs to learn new tricks.

SkipTheDishes (Grubhub in the United States) started before the pandemic, operating for almost a decade in Saskatchewan. But it could still be considered a new kid on the block and definitely marked its territory through 2020.


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Its business model suggests to restaurants that they will take care of deliveries for them. It offers a variety of pickup services to people who would like to get meals from their favourite restaurants but don’t want the hassle of ordering directly or eating in.

This is disruptive because SkipTheDishes has found a model to take over the food delivery business. And it’s disturbing because Skip charges 25 to 30 per cent of the cost of the food to restaurants, and restaurants have traditionally only had 25 to 30 per cent to cover their costs. The model is also innovative in its ability to reach consumers.

Uber is another young pup that’s definitely training the masses to use its service instead of taxis. It has quickly started digging holes in other dogs’ lawns.

And now Uber has announced that it’s generating more income from deliveries of boxes than from delivering people.

But there are also old dogs learning new tricks.

Disney is suffering because its people parks are shuttered in some regions. So it has reinvented itself in competition with Netflix with its own subscription channels.


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Amazon wants to be the only dog on the block. Having chewed holes into the retail trade, it has a substantial tail wagging in the online entertainment business as well.

Oh, and what about all that poop on the sidewalk, who’s going to clean that up?

COVID-19 has wiped out some hotel owners and decimated the cruise ship industry. European countries like Spain, Italy and Greece face financial crisis due to a lack of tourism. And a whole rash of poor people have lost their jobs as a result of lockdowns due to pandemic restrictions.

But like dog doodoo on the sidewalk, we tend to step around the subject or kick it to the curb because we don’t want to deal with it. Someone else will clean that up or pick it up with a $20-million bill.

There’s a time for everything, including letting some dogs die a natural death. Businesses need to either be revitalized and learn new tricks or close down and let new young blood take over the block.

This is happening on main streets all around the world. Some small businesses are closing, never to reopen, while a new generation of entrepreneurs are training and learning things never dreamed of by an older generation.

Dogs tend to live longer on average than new businesses. According to the Essential Business Desk Reference, the average life of a business is 8.5 years while the average dog will live 10 to 12 years.

In other words, there will always be new dogs on the block. And they might be there longer than the new business that pops up on your lawn.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc

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