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Firms that performed the ‘pandemic pivot’ to survive lockdown

A photographer who was forced to rethink his business in lockdown has found he is not alone in looking for ways to survive the pandemic.

Many firms in Oxfordshire have “pivoted” often with such success that they have decided to keep the new model going even when restrictions are lifted.

Piranha IT Support was launched last year as an offshoot of Piranha Photography, a corporate business that pre-Covid was doing around 300 photo shoots a year.

When the first lockdown hit in March 2020, Piranha, which had always provided IT support to clients, decided that with the increased demand for secure networks and Wifi, it was time to launch a new enterprise.

Piranha has found plenty of demand and have therefore decided to continue providing this hand in hand with the existing photography business.

Director Douglas Fry said: “The pandemic has increased demand for fast, reliable and secure WiFi in homes and we have been able to help.”

THAT Event Company supply audio, video and lighting equipment for events while aiming to ensure that their work is carbon neutral by working only within a 30-mile radius of their base in Oxford.

Their workload fell through the floor last year but THAT responded by staging event broadcasts. However, the main ‘pivot’ was the introduction of fully virtual experiences, using game design elements and in-conversations, creating a true wow factor.

Managing director James Walton said: “We truly believe that the appetite for virtual events will remain strong. With that in mind we fully intend to continue developing our products and our skills in this interesting and growing market.”

Reclaim Movement is run by Wendy Welpton who teaches “natural movement”, a technique that improves a person’s ability to move well throughout their entire day, not just in exercise sessions.

Wendy qualified as an instructor in 2019 and planned to launch her business using her garden for classes. Instead she switched to teaching online and over Zoom has kept people moving from their living room floors. She intends to keep providing classes online to reach a wider audience.

Meanwhile Hall Personal Training, based in Kidlington, has been closed for seven of the past 14 months.

The team quickly adapted by providing small group personal training online and all the studio’s kit has been distributed to members free of charge. They also coach live classes throughout the week, including core, mobility and HIIT, and have a variety of pre-recorded workouts.

Founder Chris Hall said: “Moving to virtual sessions means that our members still receive the best support and guidance that we can provide given the circumstances.”

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