What We Learned About Change

It used to be the only things that were certain were death and taxes. What we have witnessed over the past year is that change should be added to that list of certainties.

Many of the lessons that we have learned about change may also help you navigate an environment that is sure to continue experiencing situations and challenges that require new ways of thinking and vastly different approaches to what we are used to.

Change requires swift response

We had to act fast to make significant changes to our business model. It was such a fluid situation that these alterations were sometimes required on a weekly and even daily basis. Just in the course of the year, our events calendar was updated numerous times.

Instead of pushing back against the tides of change, we flowed with it. Although it could be frustrating, we could not be frozen with fear at what we could not see ahead of us.

Change was unsettling, but now it’s sort of exciting

We’re not going to lie and say change felt good. If anything, it was quite the opposite. Change has been scary, making us feel nervous and anxious.

However, now that we are getting some of the most dramatic aspects of the change, there is a sense of excitement after seeing the results from our response to these changes.

Change is necessary

While we would prefer not to have another event like COVID-19 to contend with, we have learned to see the benefit in such dramatic change. Without it, many businesses may have dragged their feet when it came to undertaking a digital transformation and understanding the vast evolutionary changes that had to push into the next “age.”

For example, from Craft Beverage Expo, we always considered ourselves to be a live event. Our purpose has been to bring people together in a face-to-face environment.  Going from a live event to a virtual event was hard. Our team had to learn back-end production and immerse themselves in new technology.

But, it was well worth the challenge. Now, we create content on a monthly basis — something that was never in our original business plan.  Between the official events and our free monthly webinars, we are posting some beneficial information for small beverage producers. Plus, we uncovered other ways to provide more value than we previously did through events like our next events in March and June.

Change creates opportunity

On the tasting room/tap room side, I see change serving up new opportunities for greater business success. It has inspired so many of you to become more innovative in how you see your business and deliver it to your audience. Virtual tastings, home delivery, and outdoor experiences are all new ways to generate revenue.

The upside of this change is not only the financial boost. It has also revealed gaps in our existing business model and highlighted where we have been selling our businesses short by not reaching out to a much broader audience.

I used to travel and see people like you have with your tasting room customers. Now, all of us have to spend so much time on our computers. But, this channel has also provided access to a whole new group of people.

Change introduces the next “normal”

I used to hope for the day when we could all just return to “normal” and what we were used to. However, there have been so many lessons from this experience that I am starting to become comfortable with some aspects of this next version of “normal.”

It’s important that we embrace ongoing change and uncover new ways to get in front of our customers.  We spent a long time doing things the same way and that was taken away from us overnight.  If we can at least take away one thing from all of this it’s that we can — and should — always do something different.

Change doesn’t just come from dramatic events

The best news is that we don’t need dramatic, life-altering global events like COVID-19 for positive changes to our business. For example, the Uber/Drizzly merger will also affect what we do. Sometimes, change comes from the business sector. That’s why we have to be aware and accepting of all the factors around us so we can be ready and open to change.


How are you navigating change?