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For better or worse (mostly worse ha ha) I’m not one to follow trends; I’m just not cool enough, so I tired to avoid the word ‘pivot’ as much as possible when it became trendy to say you were ‘pivoting’ your career or business back at the start of the pandemic.

But as much as I grew to despise the word it’s something I, as a small business owner, and my business mbcg (an Out Of Home advertising company) was forced in to as the pandemic took hold.

Why the pivot? Well, mainly because I run a firm where the main part of the business was rolling out a brand new network of hybrid digital advertising & signage screens inside pubs – not the best timing in the world when everyone was being told to stay at home, and even worse when you remember that when the most stringent lockdown measures were lifted, people still weren’t able to visit pubs. The hospitality sector was hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, and is still feeling its brutal effects, so I am grateful my business was able to get through it.

I am incredibly lucky that we were able to trade through that first six month period where none of us really knew what was going on (through the small network of post office screens we have the advertising sales contract for), and even more incredibly lucky that I fumbled my way to an idea which down the line has turned in to something successful and is now the main thing the business does: www.bookshopscreens.com

Bookshop Screens is the first screen network of its kind in the world, where shops get the screens for free in return for letting us put advertising messages from relevant advertisers on a small proportion of the airtime. It’s unique in that the shop gets an ad-funded digital signage system & content creation and management service – and the advertiser gets to put their messages in front of their perfect target audience, customers of independent bookshops. So far things are going very well with a small national network of some 25 shops, and in December we’ll start taking new shops on and grow at 5-15 shop per month.

So, much as I don’t like the P-word (Pivot, not Pubs – I’ve always liked Pubs), it’s felt good to be recognised (along with the 31 other winners) as one of the most innovative, adaptable and ‘pivotable’ in Essex.

Here’s to Pivoting, it’s not as bad as I thought after all 🙂



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