Any time anybody makes big plans, they might take several factors into consideration. When people decide to have children, when people decide to move to a new country, when individuals decide to open a business, they operate with the information that is currently available. They plan based on trends, history, and likely events. None of that accounts for a pandemic. Imagine how many individuals just bought a home, or just moved to a new country, or just took on a new job, or just opened their own business…all to have a pandemic dash their plans. A pandemic traditionally makes any of those life changes harder but might be the hardest on a small business owner.
Driving around and seeing all of the “Grand opening” signs covered quickly by “Business for sale” signs in our neighborhood has been incredibly heartbreaking. That’s just the perspective of an onlooker. What of the business owner who put their life savings into opening that place? For many, it wasn’t just about making a profit but also about seeing a dream come true. The small businesses that have survived have had a few things going for them. Some have been long-beloved staples of the community, that neighbors rallied and fundraised for to keep them alive. Some were fortunate to get grants and loans. And some did something else entirely. By that I mean, they literally did something else entirely with their business: they pivoted. But how?
We spoke with Teneshia Warner (pictured above), founder and CEO of multicultural marketing and communications firm EGAMI Group and author of The Big Stretch about how businesses can (and often must) pivot, not just in a pandemic, but any time things get tough.
Knowing when it’s time to pivot
Warner says it might be time to pivot “If something happened in your industry that will potentially now jeopardize your business sector future-forward. This can be a trend that has happened in the industry. It can be a trend that has happened more globally but is impacting your industry [and] 2020 is a perfect example. If you think about how the pandemic impacted the travel industry, or how it impacted hotels, those are sectors that probably very early on in the pandemic could tell that potentially their business was going to be impacted based on what had happened in the world. You almost have to ask yourself the question, regardless of the business you’re in, how are trends that are occurring in the world going to impact my particular sector?”