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The Pivot

It’s already been a long day, but then Nino got the news that all restaurants were moving to take out and delivery.

As a small café in Dorchester - Cafe Zia Gianna - that caters to neighborhood patrons for coffee, Italian pastries, and lunches, this seemed like an impossible task. People “hanging out” in his bright and cheery café are the lifeblood of his business. Thinking and rethinking options, Nino talked to his close friends and supporters, figuring out who he could rely on to help him change his business model to “to go” style. His customers are loyal and love his authentic Italian cooking, so he knew he could try this. He put together a to go menu, balancing dinners and sweet desserts. He kept his followers informed every step of the way on Facebook, and announced how to come in and pick up his food.

They came! They responded! They thanked him for giving them wonderful dinner options that they could trust. What a way to enter the world of “to go”! The pivot he made in a short time is helping, and every little bit is helping right now. It isn’t the same as his usual business, but it sure is better than closing completely.

You hear a lot about start-ups being able to quickly pivot and scale. However, now all of us are being asked to pivot and do our work in different ways. Great experience, but rarely are we asked to pivot overnight and - like all change - it can be incredibly hard. Know that the hard work may not always succeed, but may teach you something, about how you do business….about how important it is not to take anything for granted. Know that your dreams today could be completely different next week or next month as the bedrock of our economy shifts. Business owners are resilient creatures. We are all constantly thinking about the business, about how the next week/month/year looks financially and thinking about our relationships with our clients.

Pivoting during changing times is essential. We see it all around us right now. Some businesses will find a path through this time, and some will not. Do the best you can right now. Consider options that might not have been on the table two months ago. Talk to your colleagues and friends. Keep the communication flowing with your customers – they’d rather hear about your struggle than not hear from you at all. We will get through this, and we will have learned a lot about our business, our selves, and our customers. #bettertogether

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