How Pivoting Helped Her Business Survive the Pandemic
Photo Credit: Ivan Samkov/Pexels
This post is part of a series of branded posts sponsored by Verizon Business. The focus of the series — part of a paid partnership between Verizon Business and CircleAround — is on women small-business owners and how they are navigating the complexities and challenges of contemporary business, from the pandemic to the economy.
When the pandemic hit, so many businesses struggled to adapt and stay afloat. Consumers’ needs changed, indoor services could no longer be provided, and, in many cases, employees had to be furloughed or laid off. In order to help her business survive through this difficult time, Paige Arnof-Fenn knew she had to pivot her business strategy. Arnof-Fenn is the former vice president of marketing at Zipcar and current founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls — a global strategic marketing consulting firm that is entirely remote. CircleAround caught up with her to learn how she ensured her company thrived, even during a pandemic.
“The biggest change for me, my team, and my clients was the shutdown of all networking events, travel, and conferences,” Arnof-Fenn tells CircleAround, “This is typically a very busy time with many events, trade shows, business meetings on the road, etc. and for the past year, everyone is staying put and meeting virtually instead.”
In response to these changes, Arnof-Fenn created a virtual office for her clients and used videoconferencing tools to keep projects moving and communication flowing. “Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc. is a smart and productive way companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships, and move forward during this crisis period,” she explains.
Mavens & Moguls’ consulting services also now include helping clients better connect with customer needs during the pandemic, be it through social media platforms or virtual tools. This helps build stronger relationships with a customer base and increase revenue.
“We have learned that CRM [customer relationship management] tools are only as effective as the relationships you have built,” Arnof-Fenn emphasizes. “Meeting for coffee or lunch virtually can accomplish so much more than email exchanges, social media posts, etc., and it is a great way to get to know people better, their interests, hobbies, and dreams.”
Pivoting to virtual platforms also helped Arnof-Fenn feel closer to her colleagues, many of whom have since relocated around the world. “If small groups on your team want to talk through specific issues—managing anxiety, kids, parents, etc.—virtual coffee meetings have been helpful, too,” she tells CircleAround. “A few colleagues have even met online after work for a virtual happy hour when they had more time to chat.”
“It is starting to feel like the new normal by leveraging technology to build and maintain my relationships,” she adds. “We have learned that finding routines and things we can control helps.”
Arnof-Fenn knows that while technology can expand business opportunities during the pandemic, building and maintaining client relationships matters even more.
“Employees, customers, and clients will remember who treated them well during the crisis and they will be rewarded with loyalty from earning that trust during the bad times. We have learned that it is about touching people in meaningful ways, which may mean being less busy, not more, for a while.”
By adapting and pivoting business strategies during the pandemic, Arnof-Fenn was able to make her company and its clients even stronger. With new skills and technology, she’s also ensuring her company has a competitive edge long after the pandemic is over.