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How to Pivot Your Business Successfully in the Age of COVID-19

May 12, 2020

If you’re like me, this pandemic of the COVID-19 virus has run you through a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions. You may feel like a victim with your hands tied, and you must sit idly by and watch your business crumble.  Maybe you’re angry at the ridiculous government controls being placed on you and your customers. Maybe, you’ve decided to wait it out and do what you can.

I want to walk you through five different levels of thoughts and emotions. Remember that each one of these emotions and thoughts is valid. Chances are that you’ve experienced any one of these. As I recite each level, I want you to see how this emotion and thought may manifest itself in you.  At the end, I will ask you a simple question that may make all the difference in the world to you and your business.

Level 1

We are nearing two months of a nation-wide lock down to beat a virus pandemic we call COVID-19. I’m heart-broken for my fellow small business owners. I know how hard it is to pour your life savings into a startup business trying and hoping every day that it can generate enough income for you and your employees. I know how hard it is to grow and then experience the defeats along the way that tear down what you’ve built. In our present situation, a virus pandemic in concert with widespread fear seem to be an overwhelming obstacle to overcome. 

Frankly, government officials don’t seem to understand or care about your business. I don’t know at this point why you should continue to try. Give up now and file for bankruptcy as soon as you can.

Level 2

I honestly can’t believe how our government officials have bungled their reaction to a simple flu virus. Small business owners have great difficulty in stopping and starting.  This notion that the government can stop an economy, and then restart it is ludicrous. Even if I can get my business up and running and the government allows me to have customers, I must follow their idiotic rules. This means I will serve half the customers and pay extra for the expense it takes to follow the rules. I have no choice but to raise my prices, which will kill whatever business I’m allowed to have. I can’t wait to vote my governor out of office this election year.

Level 3

It looks like we have a pandemic that’s requiring all business owners to make sacrifices in some way or the other. I don’t really think I have any option but to comply with what our leaders are telling us.  I might as well make the best of it and do what I can.  I can fill out whatever paperwork I need for grants and loans to keep our company afloat financially. Since everyone else is in the same boat as me, we’re all experiencing the same pain and so it does me no good to complain. I’ll do what I can with what I have until the pandemic is over.

Level 4

This pandemic is hard on me, but I feel like it may be harder on my employees. I worked hard to get the employees I currently have on board. I am planning on getting the best government grants or loans and helping my employees qualify for unemployment. In either case, I want my folks to be taken care so they can take care of their families in this pandemic. I also worry about my customers. They have relied on us for so long and I want to find a way that we can still serve them while keeping everyone safe during this pandemic.

Level 5

I know that this pandemic has caused disruption to my business, but honestly, this event has been a blessing in disguise.  I finally had time to work on a new service offering that I wanted to start but had been putting it off because we were so busy. Once this pandemic is over, our company can increase it’s revenues by 50% and we will be so much better off.  Plus, we had an opportunity to create plans to continue to operate the next time something like this comes along.

The Question

“Which one of these levels would you like to be at with your business?”

If you’re a human being… which I hope you are if you’re reading this blog post, then you may have answered something like this, “Well, I’d like to be at Level 5, but…”. Then make some excuse about why you’re stuck at one of the lower levels.

As I said at the start, it’s okay to be an any one of these levels, but I now want to explain how each level will play out and how you can truly pick the level you want.

What are the Levels?

Level one is called Victim. You will find comfort at level one because whatever you do, you have a legitimate excuse. You may think that this level is the easiest and takes the least amount of energy, but you’d be wrong. Being a victim creates pain and despair that is felt at the deepest level. It is comforting for a short time and then the pain sets in never to leave again.

Level two is called Conflict. Here, you will feel the need to fight and win, while you defeat your opponent. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, your enemy is the government.  While resistance feeds your ego, it rarely results in genuine progress in your business.

Level three is called Acceptance. At level three, you’re unshakable. You managed to adapt to whatever is thrown your way and come out okay. You may not excel, but you will survive.

Level four is called Compassion. At level four, you focus on others.  You somehow intuitively know that if you take care of others, you will be okay. 

Level five is called Opportunity. At this level you see loss as an opportunity to win.  In the case of the pandemic, you literally will make lemonade out of lemons.

Why Does it Matter?

At first glance, you may read this and see it as some sort of “positive thinking” exercise.  Or “name it and claim it” theology. While both are related, it’s a little deeper than that.  The higher level you go, the better you will feel about your circumstance; and the more likely you are to succeed with your business in this time of crisis.

How can I simply pick a level?

Everyone reading this blog post is truly in a different situation. However, I can almost guarantee you that if you feel you’re stuck at level 1 or 2, you’re not. You can pick any level you want.

What is counter intuitive to you and even me, is that we tend to pick the level before we contemplate our circumstance.

So, I want you to try an exercise.

  1. Clear your mind. Pray or meditate to get you mind off your business. If you pray, don’t pray about your worries. If you meditate, focus on your breathing.
  2. Spend a few minutes being grateful about anything you want.
  3. Pick Level Five - Opportunity
  4. Imagine all the positive options that your current situation allows
  5. Now do what you know is possible

I know that you’ve been put through the ringer during this pandemic, but I know that you’re capable to come out the other side better than when you entered. And, like it or not, whether it’s a pandemic, or a new competitor in town, or a new technology in digital marketing, you will grow stronger in your entrepreneurial mindset, if you learn to adapt to changes like the situation we’re all facing right now.

I do wish you the best in your business.


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