How to Pivot your Business Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Michael Tasner | Uncategorized

Jul 06
pivot

Today’s topic is all about the COVID pivot—what are you and your business going to do next? 

Now I know that things have been, for lack of a better word, insane the last couple of weeks or the last month, or even in the last month and a half or so, depending on when things started in your community and in your business. 

But when I’ve been looking at things and kind of analyzing all the different things that are currently taking place, to me there’s really going to be a few different types of businesses that are going to kind of transpire over the next couple of weeks or next couple of months. 

The first one is that, sadly, the business that is going to have no way to pivot and they’re just going to fail. Honestly, those are the ones that just truly truly break my heart. 

For example, and I’ll use some easy examples, but if I come up with some other ones on this episode live, obviously I’ll share those. If your restaurant was a really tiny space that you relied on, people would come in and have an intimate dining experience and it was extremely high-end. You’ve never offered takeout and you never took credit cards. You weren’t really able to pivot the last month or so that’s going to be a really, really big challenge. I think that dining is going to be forever changed for quite some time to come. 

There are those types of businesses that make it really, really challenging to pivot or businesses that just don’t want to pivot. They say, I’ve always been doing it this way. I have no intention of wanting to change anything. I mean, they’ll simply close their doors or go out of business. 

The second type of business is the businesses that were immune to this whole COVID-19 crisis. For example, commercial cleaning companies—really seem to be not overly hurt by COVID. Companies like logistics, transportation, trucking companies, or pest control companies that focus on stuff outside the home. A lot of those companies have done extremely well and really didn’t see any kind of downturn—that’s the second type of company or business. 

The third one is a little bit of a toss up. That’s really the focus of the episode today is the businesses that had some kind of downturn. They’re not immune to everything that’s going on but they have an opportunity to pivot to shift. 

I tried to support local businesses in terms of restaurants and shops and things like that as much as I could. There are certain restaurants that I knew were going to have a really tough time going from never offering takeout to offering takeout. There were other businesses like Chipotle A, which obviously is a big brand, but I’m just using that as an example because I have a Chipotle obsession that pivoted extremely easily. I could even argue and I don’t know the numbers. I think they actually had been doing better than they were even pre-COVID. 

I’d walk in there to get my lunch even at a later hour, like 1:30 or 2 o’clock, and there would be 50 orders across all the tables. They had everything labeled alphabetically, grab it and go. They had a hand sanitizer station, and that allowed their team rather than having to continuously stop and take custom orders to everything being online, so the entire team was able to just focus on cooking and cranking out those orders. Where it may have taken 20-25 minutes if you were to order during a rush time to go in for pick up. Some other times we’re down to eight minutes, 10 minutes or less like it continued to go down and down because they were able to crank out that frequency. It wasn’t that just their business dried up, because every time that I was there at all different times, the business was jam packed. 

I want you to look at your business and start to look at what are the pivots that you’re going to need to make? Most importantly, since this is largely a marketing, podcast, and marketing show, how are you going to have to pivot your marketing? How is your messaging going to have to shift? What is going to have to change? But as you’re starting to pivot your marketing, you’ve got to make sure that you’re pivoting your business at the same time. And I’m very worried that if you just assume that everything is normal, and nothing is going to change, I need you just start thinking about how you can pivot?

If you were offering tax preparation, for example, how are you going to have to pivot your business? 

Maybe you do more of the stuff via virtual conference through zoom, and they’re just coming in to sign some paperwork, for example, or you’re offering different time slots so that they’re never going to be around other people. How can you start to pivot? 

If your restaurants were never offering takeout, you’re going to have to start offering takeout and options to continue to show how things are being sanitized. You won’t be able to just reuse the same table glass, for example, maybe you need to switch over to paper. Again, a lot of this stuff is going to be relating to cleaning, and how you’re sanitizing, and really keeping them and your team safe. 

It’s also just looking at all of your different business practices in general. If you know that money is tight for a lot of people, can you start to change your business terms? Can you start to take credit cards when you’ve never taken credit cards before? Can you offer different payment options? 

I just purchased another course on marketing. Normally, it’s a one time payment, but he knew that that just wasn’t going to happen for most people right now. So, he started to offer payment options and also boost up some of the extra things that you were getting with it. 

Are there some other things that you can build into your business gratis? Retail is going to be hit extremely, extremely hard. What can you do to help make those experiences? Do you need to start to have parties where they can invite their family to come in, for example, and it’s a little VIP shopping experience for their family. Instead of you having to have customers coming in throughout the day, you’re having one hour sessions, for example. And they know who’s coming in their particular business, for example, and you’re able to kind of take it from there. 

You have to start thinking completely outside the box. Otherwise, I promise you that things are going to get to be really, really tough and really, really tight. We are going to be moving into an extremely uncertain economy, the next couple of months could be longer. I think people are now 50/50 moving into a recession, but what I’m looking for you to do is start to pivot your business now. Make those tweaks now before it’s too late. 

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. I look forward to connecting with you back here tomorrow.

Get out there, make a change, and take some action. 

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