Welcome to The Pivot Pod, where we'll figure out together what's next for small business. Hosted by Frances Cook, with a new expert on each episode.

The Covid-19 crisis appeared almost overnight, giving businesses no time to switch strategies or batten down the hatches.

It was simply here; a worldwide pandemic, shutting down borders, economies, and keeping both workers and customers in their homes.

Listen to the podcast episode here

But this isn't entirely new as a type of crisis for New Zealand.

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The 2011 Christchurch earthquake also came out of the blue, tragically claiming lives and forcing people to change how they lived and worked.

It took hard work and pulling together for Christchurch to find a new normal.

On the latest Pivot Pod, chief executive of Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce Leeann Watson said the earthquakes gave lessons we could still use now as we try to recover from Covid-19.

She said the biggest mistake would be hoping that everything would simply go back to normal.

"The thing that didn't work was businesses assuming things would go back to the way they were before the earthquakes. We will see the same thing happening post-Covid.

"Our future will look very different to our past, there is absolutely no doubt about that. I think businesses need to recognise and accept that we're not going to go back to where we were.

"Respect and build off the past, but recognise that things will be very different."

This could be intimidating to some businesses, but the beauty of accepting your new situation is that customers are right there with you.

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It's no secret that companies are paying the price for the Covid-19 pandemic. While health has to be the priority, many New Zealanders are also throwing their dollars behind Support Local campaigns in a bid to address both problems at once.

That means if you're ready to talk openly and honestly to your customers, you could find they already know the new products and services they want from you.

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Reports are filtering through of businesses managing to do this.

One hairdresser in the US has accepted that while her salon is closed for now, she can still help her clients.

She's mixing up their hair dyes at home, to create root touch-up kit. She delivers the concoction as well as full instructions on best techniques.

Sure it might not be the salon pampering that many are pining for right now, but it's still a valuable, socially-distanced service that many clients are happy to pay for.

Watson said "co-creation" would help businesses find new strategies to switch to post-Covid, as well as giving customers a feeling of investment in their success.

"Actually asking them, what do they want, how do they want it?

"It's a perfect way to test your offering by actually getting your customers to co-design it with you.

"We saw, post-earthquakes in Christchurch, some really innovative and creative thinking. I think we need to embrace and really celebrate those wins, because the environment is pretty challenging.

"We've got to make sure that we hang on to the positives and reinforce the positives of this as well. It can become pretty all-consuming if you start thinking about the things we've got ahead of us, rather than the things we've already achieved."

Listen to the full interview on The Pivot Pod episode above.

If you have a question about this podcast, or question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.

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