The Year of the Pivot Continues


Move over “bottom line” and “synergy,” the new business buzzword on the block is “pivot.”

With these challenging times, small business owners and nonprofit directors are doing a lot of pivoting right now. This year, nearly every business was forced to adapt and evolve to keep their doors open, even if that door became a virtual one.

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During COVID-19, entrepreneurs have risen to meet the challenges, and take advantage of new opportunities in areas that suddenly received a boost, including…

According to CNN data:

  • Video game company sales are up 21% to $1.52B in the first quarter of this year.
  • Disinfectant products were up 230% in March and April.
  • Peloton revenue grew 66% in the first quarter of this year.
  • Zoom’s stock is up 120% in 2020.

Locally, from public relation firms to inspiring individuals, many New Orleanians have embraced necessary pivots.

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At Gambel Communications so much of what the PR company did pre-COVID-19 was based on gatherings, special events, sponsor activation, press conferences and media tours.

“My team had to get more creative than ever and leverage our evolving digital expertise to position our clients,” says Amy Boyle Collins, Gambel’s chief executive officer. “The internet has become the holy grail in today’s stay-at-home world. We took our clients virtual at every turn to continue to successfully engage their target audiences. Zoom, Google, Facebook and more allow us to work and socialize from the safety of our own homes while still connecting with others.”

Many nonprofits, who generate much of their income from galas and other events, had to pivot to virtual fundraisers and open houses.

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“Every single one of our students is capable of excellence,” says Eve Peyton, marketing and communications coordinator for Benjamin Franklin High School. “But this year, our students have more challenges than ever before. With 35% of our students eligible for free or reduced lunch, we are seeing an unprecedented number of requests for Chromebooks, school supplies and even food. No student can learn if they’re hungry, worried about their power being shut off, or don’t have reliable internet access.”

The school’s virtual Disaster Relief Fund allowed Ben Franklin to quickly and discreetly help over 352 families struggling during the pandemic. The school has given out 276 Chromebooks, 68 hotspots for internet access, 125 bags of school supplies, 56 boxes of nonperishable food and 46 Visa gift cards.

Local attorney Robert Peyton and author Troy Gilbert helped some in the restaurant industry pivot by founding Chef’s Brigade. This program injects badly needed funds into our culinary industry and works with such restaurants as Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and Cafe Degas.

“We work with 80 restaurants and we’ve served 15,000 residents more than 1.25 million meals,” says Peyton.

The program is available to any resident age 65 or older, adults with high-risk health conditions, homeless residents, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or have been recently exposed, and children under 18 not currently on other federal meal assistance programs.

Chef’s Brigade also partners with Revolution Foods, The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute and DeLivery NOLA. The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness continues to manage this meal assistance program on behalf of the city.

Due to recent downsizing, Katherine Madere made a personal pivot when she found herself unemployed. As others were baking to fill their quarantine time, Madere began baking and selling her bread. She’s now a small business owner and her business, Bread & Roses Baking Company, LC, is thriving.

“We are at the Refresh Farmer’s Market and Crescent City Farmers Market,” says Madere. “And we will soon be selling pastries for Longue Vue’s Museum Cafe.”

Thankfully, the COVID-19 vaccine is bringing hopes of better times to many this holiday season.

It’s a testament to our small businesses that so many embraced the pivot with incredible tenacity, determination, and generosity. They have shown astonishing adaptability and resilience in continuing to make New Orleans a better place.

Let’s kick 2020 to the curb and welcome in a brand new year. Happy New Year’s to you and yours.



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