You’re already familiar with what many voices started sharing in mid-March:

“You’ve got to pivot with your business! You need to pivot with your message! Pivot, pivot, pivot!”

Yes, while virtually every business in the world experienced some level of change over the past six weeks, a knee-jerk reaction is rarely the right response.

After working with over 1,100 business coaches and consultants and 800 speakers one-on-one since 2016, what I recognize during this crisis is how many experts — speakers, coaches, consultants, trainers, service providers — feel truly anchorless in this storm.

Simply pivoting without clarity will only add more noise to an even-noisier-than-usual marketplace. While the rest of the world is thumbing away at pixels waiting for this ‘stuffstorm’ to be over, you have an incredible opportunity to share a fresh, relevant message that speaks to your audience right now.

If you’re truly feeling the need to pivot, how do you establish a clear, compelling message? Not all pivots are created equal and neither are all messages. While some businesses (maybe even yours) are doing a full-scale pivot into an entirely new industry and to a new audience, far more businesses need to make a smaller pivot to fit a new context for the same audience and industry. Spoiler alert: you’re probably in the latter part of those two ‘buckets’ of businesses.

No matter the degree of pivot you need or want to make, what’s the most effective way to pivot your business and message? While much of what I’m about to share with you is relevant to making a pivot during a crisis (COVID-19, economic recession, near-immediate industry disruption, etc.), this approach can work well with almost any pivot opportunity.

01. Reinforce Your Why.

Instead of just pivoting towards any exciting new opportunity or away from an old opportunity as a knee-jerk reaction, start with reinforcing your why. Your why is what you can hold onto in any season, economic condition, industry disruption, or personal situation — it’s simply why you do what you do.

This is what gets you fired up. This is what gets you excited. This is what catapults you out of bed in the morning, bleary-eyed and coffee-depraved. It’s the driving force of how you can make a difference in the world around us.

If you didn’t have clarity on why you do what you before this crisis, a word: this is the perfect time to know your why. Take a day, half a day, or even an hour to write down what you really want to do with this next year or even the rest of your life. Your why is never supposed to be about you — it’s about who you can serve with your superpowers to bring a meaningful impact to the world.

If you’re ready to get better results with your message than ever before, take the next step here.

02. Know Who You Want to Serve Right Now.

Knowing your audience is two-fold. First, it’s about understanding what they’re facing that you can help solve for them. The second part is where many businesses miss the mark: you need to then articulate the exact challenges, questions, and situations your audience is facing. Many businesses understand the problem, but fewer can actually articulate their understanding in a clear, compelling way.

Your audience is likely in a very different place now than even a month ago due to the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic upheaval. Knowing the challenges, questions, and situations your audience faced last year or even last month is not nearly as valuable as knowing what they’re facing this month or will face next month. Relevant insight is priceless and scarce in many industries.

03. Offer solutions that are painkillers, not vitamins.

Once you truly define your audience’s current reality, align every marketing move to focus on painkillers, not vitamins. Nobody with a broken leg is looking for a vitamin — they’re looking for anything to ease the pain. Vitamins are nice to have while painkillers are must-haves in this economy.

Your audience isn’t worried about losing subscribers — they’re worried about losing their home or business. They’re not afraid of what business structure to use — they’re scared to death of what this economy will do to their cash flow.

Anybody can sell a vitamin when things are amazing. Entire industries are broken right now and people in your audience are looking for anything that can eradicate pain. Every solution, conversation, and interaction you have with prospective clients is a chance to recognize their pain and offer a true painkiller.

If you’re ready to get better results with your message than ever before, take the next step here.

04. Prove Your Solution

Can you prove that your solution, whether it’s a book, course, training, done-for-you service, coaching, whatever it might be, can actually relieve your audience’s pain?

Your business may be completely upside-down compared to what it was a month ago. Most of our clients are speakers who rely on live events and speaking fees to continue sharing their messages and making a living. How do they recoup their speaking fees or replace those speaking opportunities without live events?

Part of our pivot is showing speakers how to focus on podcasts, create webinars, participate as experts on virtual summits, and offer one-on-one consulting sessions in lieu of in-person speaking events. We have a process we’ve used with helping over 800 different speakers craft and share their messages.

By streamlining virtually all of our energy toward online stages, it’s eliminated any parts of the process that rely on in-person conversations or interactions. And… it’s generating speaking fees for our clients that are comparable, if not exactly the same in some cases, as what our clients received before COVID-19 disrupted everything.

05. Lean Into This Opportunity

You may be feeling uncomfortable or even shamed by others for trying to grow your business during this crisis. There’s a massive difference between taking advantage of people and taking advantage of an opportunity. Taking advantage of people manifests itself through lack of awareness.

What’s happening with COVID-19 is awful. Families, industries, even entire countries are completely disrupted by this pandemic, but how you step into this moment, how you approach these next couple of weeks will have a dynamic impact on how the world sees you. Presenting your business or message as a vitamin when your audience needs a painkiller is misplaced at best and tone-deaf at worst.

This is why we rely heavily on empathy in our marketing because people in our audience need to know we recognize and acknowledge their pain and uncertainty. There’s never been a better time to serve our audience with solutions that specifically speak to their exact pain right now.

That still leaves the question of ‘selling’ during a crisis. If you offered all of your services at no charge, it shortcuts your timeline to stay in business. Any solution you offer needs to have a reliable result so people in your audience can see the difference because they trusted your expertise. That’s truly serving your audience, which will help more people be better positioned to recover from this crisis.

This May Be Your Greatest Opportunity to Change Someone’s Life For Good.

When we get onto the other side of this — and we will get on the other side of this — you will have an amazing story to tell. You will have more stories of people inside your audience saying, “You were there for me and I don’t know where I’d be without you. You helped me get through COVID-19 better than anything else, and I’m going to keep leaning into your wisdom, into your expertise because you were there when I was in so much pain and instead of giving me a vitamin, you gave me something that actually helped solve that problem or fix that challenge.”

This is your chance to make a meaningful impact on someone else’s life with your message. Now is not the time to be faint of heart. Be clear on your why. Know your audience. Understand and articulate what they’re going through better than anybody else and know their challenges this month. Offer painkillers, not vitamins. And, most importantly, prove that you can help relieve their pain.

If you’re ready to get better results with your message than ever before, take the next step here.