Pivoting During The Pandemic

The pandemic has caused many of us to shift, reassess, and do things much differently in our lives and businesses. The simple fact is we are all operating wayyyyyy outside our comfort zone. In essence, we all had to PIVOT! The problem is many of us didn’t want to but we had no choice. I will go on record to say that I pivoted kicking and screaming, but I pivoted nonetheless. The transparent truth is that I reached a crossroads where pivoting meant survival. Period.

Everything has fundamentally changed since this pandemic sent shockwaves through the entire world last year. We have all had to adapt to wearing masks, social distancing, no movies, concerts or parties and not hugging people anymore. However, in these uncertain times, how can we really know if we are making the right moves or if we are pivoting the right way?
It’s hard to know what things will look like in the future when we are navigating so much uncertainty and no one knows how things will pan out in a week, a month or even the next year. The simple truth is we all need to be strategic and proactive as well as reactive, and that’s a very fine balance to strike.

Let’s face it pivoting is scary, frustrating and unsettling, but this word must be embraced as we go through this journey. The word “PIVOT” simply means to shift temporarily, or depending on your circumstances, the shift could be long term. The beauty of the “pivot” is that you ultimately can determine how long it lasts.

For example, I am in the event industry and due to the pandemic, most events were cancelled around the country or were moved to virtual platforms because no one was allowed to gather in groups. As a live events person, I struggled for months to make ends meet, and every one of my clients cancelled for 2020 and 2021. Leads dried up, venues closed and by May of 2020, the events industry was in a complete shambles. I was in shock, I was paralyzed, I was depressed and I was afraid. Being in an industry that I loved for 20 years and then suddenly having it snatched away from me was a hard pill to swallow. Many planners including me, had to take a step back for a few months and reassess, regroup and reinvent ourselves.

Luckily, I pivoted and started tapping into my other gifts and talents. I am not only an event planner, but I am a writer having already written 4 other books, I am also a speaker, I host my own private events and I am a master networker. I was able to shift gears and started writing my 5th book called, “Keep Calm and Pivot.” In my upcoming book you will learn strategies to help navigate the new direction you are in right now, but keep you focused on the goals you ultimately want to achieve. This book will give tips to stay the course, help you “lean into” your pivot, and yes, keep you calm during the entire process.

It can be difficult to sometimes find the silver lining when things disrupt our lives, but I believe it is crucial to frame what is happening as an opportunity to make positive changes and not see it as a set back.

Here are 5 tips to help you pivot for those in business during this pandemic:

1. Listen.
This is the time to closely monitor the news and social channels to identify customer pain points that have arisen because of the pandemic. By keeping your finger on the pulse, you can better deploy strategies that fit the needs of your community.

2. Reposition, Reevaluate, ReNew

When you identify the challenges going on in the world, you will be able to personalize your offerings to match the demand. Identify ways to pivot your product or service to meet a customer need. You will probably have to reinvent yourself to do so, but that is what pivoting is all about.

3. Be Mindful Of Your Brand Messenging

Pivoting doesn’t mean exploiting and businesses must understand people have real anxiety about going out into the world to basic neccessaties. Avoid messages that lead to fear or is overly aggressive. Consult your team about your brand message before launching your pivoted product or service.

4. Communicate and Be Transparent

Whatever your pivot or strategy is, it needs to be properly communicated. Keep your website and social media channels up to date. Transparency builds trust so don’t be afraid to be a straight shooter with your customers. Share your plans, strategy and timeline and give as much information as you can. In a time where we all want things to be normal and stable, the more you can communicate and provide reassurance, the better.

5. Be Prepared To Partner and Pivot… Again

These are unprecedented times we live in and none of us know what lies ahead. Even after your business has pivoted, continue to check in with your business associates and customers because you might have to pivot again into a new strategy. Collaboration is key and we are stronger by partnering with others as you pivot. If something didn’t work for you by yourself, a partnership may be just what you need to make it work. The pandemic has prompted unlikely partnerships and right now is a good time to think outside the box and align your brand with someone who may be unorthodox, but actually may be the right fit to take your business to the next level. You might have to change strategy a couple of times and pivot inside your pivot, but in the end it will work to your advantage.

Change is always scary, but most of us have faced this pandemic head on and are pivoting more than we ever have before. I think it is clear that instead of waiting for everything to return to “normal”, we must take steps to pivot into a better, more “resilient new normal.”

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