You’ve no doubt had some challenges with your business because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that is the cerebral discussion of the emotional, social, and psychological aspects that affect you and your family and your employees.
And, we’re not out of this situation, yet. Not by a long shot.
As the Province opens up and we enter a new phase of normal, we respectively suggest that there will be more phases and adjustments to come. And what you have to do for the next three to four months may be different in the fall or winter as the pandemic enters a new phase of seasonal, community, and economic outcomes.
The world is spinning and you’re being told to ‘pivot’, which seems very purposeful, but you may actually feel like you’re spinning, or swivelling back and forth. Yes, our new (ab)normal reality means we have to continue to assess and adapt quickly or responsively, but how do you do that with so much going on, so much change, so many options?
We’d like to suggest an approach that starts with taking a step back for a moment and putting structure and a staged approach to the process. You can still respond in a time-effective manner (timing can be the most critical element to marketing) but in an efficient way, an organised way. Then, you’re not “swivelling”, but acting with purpose and “pivoting” effectively.
As things in BC start to open up, there will still be limitations and barriers (literally!), but also new threads of opportunity. With your structured approach, segment and analyse the three main areas of your business: 1) operations/production, 2) sales/marketing, and 3) financial management.
Yes, you need to assess and analyse your situation, but your focus here is to choose a direction, establish your priorities, and begin to act. It’s time to dig in and make things happen.
Here’s how to do the 3-step pivot. Parse these out, make simple lists, rank them, and then create an action plan.
- Research and Analyse – What’s in your circle of influence? Where can you cut back? Can you create or improve your online capabilities? What are the risks to a change or not changing? Do you need new equipment, process, delivery methods?
- Strategize – Where are your opportunities? What is the best approach for growth? What are the potential ROI and the potential risks? Rank them, make a decision and jump on it. Don’t stay in exploration mode.
- Implement – Dive in and execute. “Draft” a list of implementation steps and add to the list as you go. Apply your idea and measure everything you can. If something is doing really well stick with it and consider how you can grow it more. If something is not going well, be prepared to “fail fast”. Stop and move to the actions that have traction and momentum.
“Ideas are worthless without execution.”~Unknown
Look at the restaurant industry in the initial phase of this pandemic. Because of social distancing rules they had to pivot from a dine-in business model to focus on take-out and in some cases delivery options. Many were not set up for that type of service, but they adapted and implemented quickly. With the ability to offer dine-in service again, there will be strict limitations but also opportunity for innovation and new ideas in food service.
The bottom line is to assess, make a strategic decision, and pursue it, and them be ready to fail fast.
How to Fail Fast
The great entrepreneurs who have had huge success, all seem to share one trait. They move on quickly from failures and don’t stay loyal to a concept that will pull them down. They move on to the next opportunity or the existing channel/product line that does have momentum. In other words, they fail fast.
If things aren’t going as planned, acknowledge your failure.
Don’t blame others. Don’t blame the pandemic. Don’t stew in it.
Learn from it. What is the lesson from this mistake?
Adjust. Make a new plan and commitment so you don’t keep making the same mistake.
Enjoy and grow from the experience.
You are going to make mistakes. Everybody does. It’s a good thing.
And feeling bad about it triggers you to do something about it.
This is a time to be nimble with your business and your perspective. Assess and most importantly act, then adapt to the results you track. Historically, good companies and concepts became great and sustainable during the tough times. And tracking, then adapting and improving as you go is where the magic tends to happen.
As we move into the next phase of the new normal, know that there will be another phase after that and another adjustment. Maybe together we are part of a bigger, more meaningful change of vibrant, sustainable, growing local food economies.
The BC food industry is a strong and vibrant community and we’re proud to be a part of it.
If you’re struggling with any of this, contact us to discover how you can pivot your business.